A massive thanks to the author, Catherine Taylor, for sending me a copy of Beyond the Moon in exchange for an honest review.
Anybody who knows me can tell you that I’m a sucker for a good love story. I’m also a huge history buff, so the concept of Beyond the Moon spoke to me on so many levels. It’s exactly the kind of story I love to get lost in and, for the most part, I did.
Catherine Taylor’s novel is a poignant and gripping love story that brings together Robert Lovett, a WW1 lieutenant and Louisa Casson, a young woman living in modern-day England, struggling with grief. The story shifts between 1917 and 2017 so often that, initially, I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but it definitely did.
The book is written fantastically well, particularly considering the tricky concept. Time travel is a really difficult thing to get right in books and, for the most part, I felt like Beyond the Moon was two very different stories. I think it’s quite natural to gravitate more towards one narrative when books are written in this way and I definitely did. However, the two different stories were interweaved extremely carefully and intelligently, which made those coming together moments between the two protagonists some of the best parts of the book.
From the offset, I was really intrigued by Louisa’s story and found myself wanting to race through the chapters about Robert to get back to Louisa’s situation. This didn’t really change much throughout the novel if I’m honest, as I just found Louisa to be much more interesting as a character. However, Taylor created a really beautiful 1917 setting that made the Robert chapters work for me also.
Catherine Taylor is fantastic at capturing the horrors of war and fighting at the front line, which I thought was a great addition to the book. This authenticity is something I always look for in historical fiction because, if I don’t find the writing believable, there’s a 90% chance I’ll add it to my DNF pile. Luckily, I didn’t have this problem with Beyond the Moon – Taylor clearly did her homework.
I really enjoyed the accounts of men and women’s different roles during the war too, which was really successful and left some food for thought on gender roles in the modern day world. It’s interesting because you assume that so much has changed in the last 100 years, but a book like this forces you to question just how much gender roles have actually altered?
If I were to offer any constructive criticism, I’d argue that the book it a tad too long. It took a while to get going and I felt some there were some unnecessary chapters than could be cut from the novel entirely. It’s definitely worth persevering though, especially because the ending brings everything together so beautifully.
GoodReads rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️