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Named by BuzzFeed as one of Winter 2021's Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Books! "This poignant story of loss and self-discovery shines by showing the human desires for truth, community, and love under a church’s oppressive control." --Publishers Weekly Emily English Medley’s heartbreaking novel From the Moon I Watched Her is filled with secrets and lies both about family Named by BuzzFeed as one of Winter 2021's Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Books! "This poignant story of loss and self-discovery shines by showing the human desires for truth, community, and love under a church’s oppressive control." --Publishers Weekly Emily English Medley’s heartbreaking novel From the Moon I Watched Her is filled with secrets and lies both about family and God.  --Foreword Reviews It’s hot, Texas, and the year 1977. Jimmy Carter is in office. The Walters are a good, churchgoing family who stand for holiness, purity, grace, and Christian love. Except when they don't. Family patriarch and fanatic preacher, Victor Black, knows many things for sure, including the fact that abortion is murder and should be punishable by death--a position he defends live in a televised debate. Black’s youngest granddaughter, Stephanie Walters, sits in the front row wearing her frilly Sunday dress, listening carefully to every word. But it doesn't take long for cracks to appear in the Walters upstanding family facade. Stephanie's mother, Lily, begins telling unsettling stories about having a baby who died, and her story keeps changing. It’s clear Lily has a secret--one that righteous Victor Black would kill her for if he knew. This family secret burns more than the lies . . . From the Moon I WatchedHer is a coming-of-age tale about the skeletons that lurk under church pews and the little girl who goes looking for and finds them. Amid the dark and quirky terrain of camp revivals, burning crosses, and public shunnings, one child from the Southern Churches of Christ cries out.


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Named by BuzzFeed as one of Winter 2021's Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Books! "This poignant story of loss and self-discovery shines by showing the human desires for truth, community, and love under a church’s oppressive control." --Publishers Weekly Emily English Medley’s heartbreaking novel From the Moon I Watched Her is filled with secrets and lies both about family Named by BuzzFeed as one of Winter 2021's Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Books! "This poignant story of loss and self-discovery shines by showing the human desires for truth, community, and love under a church’s oppressive control." --Publishers Weekly Emily English Medley’s heartbreaking novel From the Moon I Watched Her is filled with secrets and lies both about family and God.  --Foreword Reviews It’s hot, Texas, and the year 1977. Jimmy Carter is in office. The Walters are a good, churchgoing family who stand for holiness, purity, grace, and Christian love. Except when they don't. Family patriarch and fanatic preacher, Victor Black, knows many things for sure, including the fact that abortion is murder and should be punishable by death--a position he defends live in a televised debate. Black’s youngest granddaughter, Stephanie Walters, sits in the front row wearing her frilly Sunday dress, listening carefully to every word. But it doesn't take long for cracks to appear in the Walters upstanding family facade. Stephanie's mother, Lily, begins telling unsettling stories about having a baby who died, and her story keeps changing. It’s clear Lily has a secret--one that righteous Victor Black would kill her for if he knew. This family secret burns more than the lies . . . From the Moon I WatchedHer is a coming-of-age tale about the skeletons that lurk under church pews and the little girl who goes looking for and finds them. Amid the dark and quirky terrain of camp revivals, burning crosses, and public shunnings, one child from the Southern Churches of Christ cries out.

30 review for From the Moon I Watched Her

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eve (Between The Bookends)

    This book is tough for me to review. I have SO many questions, and things I want to bring up/discuss, but obviously cannot without giving away too much of the plot. I definitely think this book lends itself rather well to being a "bookclub" book! There are heavy topics tackled here (abuse, incest, rape, abortion), just to name a few. There is also A LOT of preaching/religion throughout. I usually steer clear of books that "preach", however, it didn't bother me in this one. I found the story inte This book is tough for me to review. I have SO many questions, and things I want to bring up/discuss, but obviously cannot without giving away too much of the plot. I definitely think this book lends itself rather well to being a "bookclub" book! There are heavy topics tackled here (abuse, incest, rape, abortion), just to name a few. There is also A LOT of preaching/religion throughout. I usually steer clear of books that "preach", however, it didn't bother me in this one. I found the story interesting and skillfully written. Most of the characters had a decent amount of fleshing out to them as well. I probably would have given this 5 stars, but I felt that the ending was rushed, and for "me" a little ambiguous(?) As I mentioned above, it left me with A LOT of questions that I wanted a little more insight on. A little more explanation. I also would have liked a chapter or two farther in the future. Just to have a little more closure. However, that is probably more a "preference" issue than a flaw with the book. Overall, this was an excellent book, and deserves two strong thumbs up from yours truly. **ARC Via NetGalley**

  2. 4 out of 5

    KarenK

    I received this from Netgalley.com. "The Walters are a good, churchgoing family who stand for holiness, purity, grace, and Christian love. Except when they don't." Wow. An extreme example of 'do what I say, not as I do'. This is one of those stories that can be hard to read because of the abusive nature of some people. But setting that aside, this is a well written and interesting read. Having grown up in an extremely legalistic church (cult), pieces of this story resonated very deeply with me an I received this from Netgalley.com. "The Walters are a good, churchgoing family who stand for holiness, purity, grace, and Christian love. Except when they don't." Wow. An extreme example of 'do what I say, not as I do'. This is one of those stories that can be hard to read because of the abusive nature of some people. But setting that aside, this is a well written and interesting read. Having grown up in an extremely legalistic church (cult), pieces of this story resonated very deeply with me and I know won't forget this book. Put this one on your 2021 TBR list. 4.25☆

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erika Lynn (shelf.inspiration)

    4.5 Stars See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram “...And just as the sun and the moon took turns and switched places, so did the little girl and woman in me.” - From the Moon I Watched Her. This book takes place in 1977 in the state of Texas. It follows the Walters who are a good, churchgoing family who stand for holiness, purity, grace, and Christian love. Except when they don’t. Family patriarch and fanatic preacher, Victor Black, knows many things, including that abortion is 4.5 Stars See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram “...And just as the sun and the moon took turns and switched places, so did the little girl and woman in me.” - From the Moon I Watched Her. This book takes place in 1977 in the state of Texas. It follows the Walters who are a good, churchgoing family who stand for holiness, purity, grace, and Christian love. Except when they don’t. Family patriarch and fanatic preacher, Victor Black, knows many things, including that abortion is murder and should be punishable by death. It doesn’t take long for cracks to appear in their upstanding family. Lily Walters, mother to Stephanie and Katherine, starts to tell unsettling stories about having a baby who died, but the story keeps changing. It’s clear she has a secret that Victor Black would kill her for if he knew. The youngest in the family, Stephanie, goes looking for these secrets among the dark and quirky terrain of camp revivals, burning crosses, and public shunnings. This was another of my 2021 anticipated books and I am glad to say it was amazing. The synopsis above only tells about one portion of this story. There are so many things that happen in this emotional, coming-of-age read, but I think they are best to be discovered while reading it. Throughout the book we follow the perspective of Stephanie from age 5 until her late teenage years. We see her family deteriorate and crumble through her eyes and we see the trauma, abuse, and pain that she goes through. This book is not an easy read, and definitely gave me a fair bit of anxiety while reading it. Topics that are touched on include abortion, incest, rape, abuse, neglect, mental illness and more. Overall, this was an amazing read, and I think it has so much to be discussed within it (the readers guide in the book is fantastic). If this interests you, definitely pick it up!

  4. 5 out of 5

    zaira.

    I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We follow the story of Stephanie and her super religious family, from childhood (at age 6) to her being 17. The book is written in three parts and the first one is the one with the most religion in it. Now, I didn’t love the book. I’m not even sure I liked it. There were a lot of troublesome issues (in the first part) which made me pretty uncomfortable. And then we get some answers in the third part, but overall it was all so confu I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We follow the story of Stephanie and her super religious family, from childhood (at age 6) to her being 17. The book is written in three parts and the first one is the one with the most religion in it. Now, I didn’t love the book. I’m not even sure I liked it. There were a lot of troublesome issues (in the first part) which made me pretty uncomfortable. And then we get some answers in the third part, but overall it was all so confusing and half the time I didn’t know what I was reading. Some things got solved rather quickly and without depth. Also, I think that Stephanie's voice at six was almost the same throughout the book ad only changed when she was 17.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I decided I couldn't read this book. The plot was just too religious for my tastes. I decided I couldn't read this book. The plot was just too religious for my tastes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Greenleaf Book Group and Emily English Medley for this opportunity. Whether you are a usual follower of my book reviews or new to my blog, I just want to emphasize that I very much try to remain unbiased in my book reviews and focus on the book and writing itself. This book was very challenging to try and hold back personal opinions. There are a lot of heavy topics in this book, which I will list, as this book is I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Greenleaf Book Group and Emily English Medley for this opportunity. Whether you are a usual follower of my book reviews or new to my blog, I just want to emphasize that I very much try to remain unbiased in my book reviews and focus on the book and writing itself. This book was very challenging to try and hold back personal opinions. There are a lot of heavy topics in this book, which I will list, as this book is certainly not for everyone. Before that, I also want to emphasize the fact that this book is very well written (with a few word choices/sentence structure bits that kind of bothered my writer side) and is generally just a very good book. I could not put this one down. Material that some people may not want to read this book for: Mental Illness (psychosis) Father/daughter sexual relationship Adultery Sex between a 10-year-old girl and fourteen-year-old boys Other instances of underage consensual sex Drugs (okay the one part I am super biased about is giving the cat acid...animal abuse!) Very VERY religious Abortion So what exactly is this book about? I like diving into books without reading too much about them first, so this book wasn't what I expected, but perhaps in a good way? The book starts off with the first-person narrative of a five-year-old Stephanie. The first chapter was very preachy and I was waiting for how the story would evolve beyond religion and politics. Lo and behold Chapter Two really introduces some of the issues Stephanie's family has, though she is far too young to understand. Her mother is psychotic and her father is having sex with her sister (supposedly), who is only two years older than her. The home life is not seen publicly as they paint themselves as the perfect family when at church. As the reader makes their way through the book, they follow Stephanie as she progressively ages. It can be a bit hard to tell just how old she is in a given chapter, but the author does a great job of keeping the reader informed with a nicely-woven age tossed in every so often. It is interesting to look at the family dynamics and how Stephanie sees and understands things based on her age. Despite the age of the narrator throughout the story, this is an adult novel and should be treated as such. It has heavy topics, but boy are they portrayed well and Stephanie's story is certainly an interesting one. One aspect I want to point out, but don't want to say too much for spoilers, is the significance of the title. Once you reach the scene where that comes into play, the title can really be felt throughout the rest of the novel in a very symbolic and present way. I absolutely loved this book (despite my biases on a lot of these topics) and already know a few people I would highly recommend it to.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vnunez-Ms_luv2read

    'This book reminded me of the movie “Eves Bayou”. Some of the themes in that movie were present in this book. The writing is flawless and drags you in from page one. Some of the subject matter may be a bit much for some readers. The characters are well developed and you can feel their pain. Very well written book about a truly dysfunctional family and the essential it can have. Highly recommended. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the arc of this book in return for my honest 'This book reminded me of the movie “Eves Bayou”. Some of the themes in that movie were present in this book. The writing is flawless and drags you in from page one. Some of the subject matter may be a bit much for some readers. The characters are well developed and you can feel their pain. Very well written book about a truly dysfunctional family and the essential it can have. Highly recommended. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the arc of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on this review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara Catherine

    I received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review itself does not contain spoilers or content warnings. For those who consider CW/TW to be spoilers they are listed for the book at the end of the review (so stop reading here if you don’t want to see them!) I’m still trying to come to terms with how I feel about this book. It’s DARK. It’s HEAVY. It’s definitely a book that requires a specific headspace to read because of the content matter. I liked how the nar I received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review itself does not contain spoilers or content warnings. For those who consider CW/TW to be spoilers they are listed for the book at the end of the review (so stop reading here if you don’t want to see them!) I’m still trying to come to terms with how I feel about this book. It’s DARK. It’s HEAVY. It’s definitely a book that requires a specific headspace to read because of the content matter. I liked how the narration becomes more complex as the main character, Stephanie, grows older. I also liked a lot of the descriptions of her headspace particularly about the more traumatic and emotional events. I’m finding it hard to articulate what didn’t sit right with me...It’s hard to parse whether I’m uneasy about the book because of the content or because of issues I have with the writing style and literary choices. At this moment I’m sitting at about a 3.65 but rounding up to four. MAJOR CW/TW: abortion, incest, molestation, rape, sexual assault, sexual assault of a minor, pedophilia, suicide, drug use, psychosis, psychotic episodes, arson, religious themes, religious upbringing, evangelism

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michala

    I recieved this free of charge from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review From The Moon I Watched Her was probably one of the saddest books i've read in a long time. Set against the backdrop of an evangelical church, Stephanie tries to navigate a landscape she is much too young and much too naive to understand. Each character is deeply flawed in their own way and the truth of who they are is slow go unravel. You're never quite sure what the truth is until about 80% of the way through the book I recieved this free of charge from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review From The Moon I Watched Her was probably one of the saddest books i've read in a long time. Set against the backdrop of an evangelical church, Stephanie tries to navigate a landscape she is much too young and much too naive to understand. Each character is deeply flawed in their own way and the truth of who they are is slow go unravel. You're never quite sure what the truth is until about 80% of the way through the book. The author wove each plot intricately and didn't patronize the reader. I got annoyed with the sheer volume of preaching throughout the novel. The scenes could've been much shorter and still had the same effect. Also I dont appreciate being preached to about religious through characters. Overall, definitely deserving of a 4* rating. I couldn't put this down.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy. From the Moon I Watched Her is a deeply unsettling, troubled story that's told well. Stephanie, bound by the culture of ultra-religiousness and warped by the mental illness of her mother, undergoes abuse, neglect, shame, and guilt, without understanding fully how troubling her environment is. It's a hard novel to read because of the abuses that happen to Stephanie and how they are described from her innocent point of view. She doesn't kn Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy. From the Moon I Watched Her is a deeply unsettling, troubled story that's told well. Stephanie, bound by the culture of ultra-religiousness and warped by the mental illness of her mother, undergoes abuse, neglect, shame, and guilt, without understanding fully how troubling her environment is. It's a hard novel to read because of the abuses that happen to Stephanie and how they are described from her innocent point of view. She doesn't know enough to know what's happening is wrong, but the reader knows. That effect seems to be a major lens on the entire novel. Some people may want to skip this book or those few pages that tell about the events because these events are horrible. I was able to skim/skip over those pages and still understand the story. I would have liked to see more justice come for her by the end of the story. It's like she's okay with sweeping the worst thing under the rug and not seeking accountability from the perpetrator, even though it allows the continuation of the blind system that wronged her. I grew up in similar Evangelical church environments, and so much of that part of the story resonated with me. A childish love growing to adulthood mistrust. The blindness to wrongs committed by church members. Much of the Church of Christ culture is represented honestly. Everything in the story is shaped by the culture produced by hard-core evangelism, good or bad. Most of the characters seemed to remain mysteries once the story was done, but Stephanie and her mother were the only ones I wanted to understand. I wanted Stephanie to have her happy ending. Reading about her as she grows up, seeing her vulnerable POV, it made me feel protective of her. Overall, FtMIWH is a well-written, troubling story that hit home and made me care about the main character.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tera Pate

    I need to start by saying that I could not put this book down. From the moment I first encountered Stephanie, the narrator, I felt like I knew her. I almost felt like she was a part of me, a part of my past that I had forgotten, or blocked out. It is rare that I feel such a communion with a book, but I felt it with this one. With that stated, a bit of summary. This book is about a girl growing up in a strict Church of Christ family. However, that family has problems. Her mother has serious menta I need to start by saying that I could not put this book down. From the moment I first encountered Stephanie, the narrator, I felt like I knew her. I almost felt like she was a part of me, a part of my past that I had forgotten, or blocked out. It is rare that I feel such a communion with a book, but I felt it with this one. With that stated, a bit of summary. This book is about a girl growing up in a strict Church of Christ family. However, that family has problems. Her mother has serious mental health problems. Her father is unfaithful. Her grandfather loves his religion more than his family. Her grandmother is her own kind of evil. Her sister hates her mother and her too for a long time. Needless to say, there is some drama, but this drama is written in such a sophisticated manner that it is hard to put the book down. Stephanie comes of age in this book. She confronts questions of faith, of love, and of family. She learns how to truly love herself I think most of all, and that journey is priceless. In short, this is a good book about faith and family and the ties that bind. Stephanie has some horrendous experiences that are hard to read, I am not even going to lie, but the way in which these events are written are engrossing. It is hard to look away and none of it feel extraneous. I loved the book. I love the viewpoint on mental illness and its effects on the family members of the one affected. I loved the respect for differing views of religion and reading the differing characters' search for God. I just found a lot to love about this little novel. A good read. 5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Adamson Stars in Her Eye

    While poignant and often beautiful, the book isn't unified along one line. The book opens in Pasadena Texas in 1977 and young Stephanie is in the debate about abortion. Coming from a highly conservative Church of Christ family, she struggles with feelings of guilt and impurity. As she blossoms into a teenager she goes through many trials that split their family apart and Stephanie doesn't know who to turn or who she even is. The writing style is easy to read. The chapters aren't overly long but co While poignant and often beautiful, the book isn't unified along one line. The book opens in Pasadena Texas in 1977 and young Stephanie is in the debate about abortion. Coming from a highly conservative Church of Christ family, she struggles with feelings of guilt and impurity. As she blossoms into a teenager she goes through many trials that split their family apart and Stephanie doesn't know who to turn or who she even is. The writing style is easy to read. The chapters aren't overly long but contain enough story to move the plot and get to know the characters. The novel isn't overly wordy nor is written in a basic elementary level. This makes the story engulfing as the reader moves easily through the book. The only writing issue is that the story doesn't have a unifying thread. It just seems like a lot of things just happen. And while that is reflective of life, it lives a sense of theme and morality from the story. Emily English Medley delves into the scene of religious families. While not all religious families are like those in the book, this opens the curtains to the many that are and try to hid it. But beyond that Stephanie goes through so many things sort like a compilation of teenage trauma. The author handles each concept gently with revenue for the tragedy. These threads are more like several skeins embroidered into a project instead of one of a piece of flowing cord. Once again, the mental issue is used as a villain. While the lack of care and concern for those in the '70s and '80s are accurate, to continuously make those with mental illness the overall villain is short-sighted and hurtful to those of us with mental illness. It also gives an easy out for the rest of the characters. The majority of the characters have their own issue and needed to be explored more deeply and how they affected the main character. Overall, this story hits on a lot of traumas and in the lives of teenagers which can trigger some experiences while at the same time showing them they are not alone. From the Moon, I Watched her is a coming of age story that is easy to read even though it doesn't always tie everything together. I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Rowland

    CW: abortion, religion, religious upbringing, sexual content, pedophilia and sexual trauma, drug use, arson, mental illness, death. I want to thank Greenleaf Book Group Press for the digital NetGalley copy of From The Moon I Watched Her by Emily English Medley in exchange for an honest review. This book is raw, heartbreaking, and real. The reader sees this coming-of-age from the eyes of a small town Texas girl, including the expectations of her church and the broken dynamic of her family. Stepha CW: abortion, religion, religious upbringing, sexual content, pedophilia and sexual trauma, drug use, arson, mental illness, death. I want to thank Greenleaf Book Group Press for the digital NetGalley copy of From The Moon I Watched Her by Emily English Medley in exchange for an honest review. This book is raw, heartbreaking, and real. The reader sees this coming-of-age from the eyes of a small town Texas girl, including the expectations of her church and the broken dynamic of her family. Stephanie struggles to find truth and develop identity among a cast of unreliable family full of secrets. The author’s depiction of the innocence taken from someone so vulnerable and the trauma ensued is haunting. I have recently discovered how much I love historical fiction, and the Houston setting (with travels to both Arkansas and Galveston) is particularly impactful and relatable to me. Anyone who grew up around mental illness will find validation and feel seen in this account. My sincere hope is that you don’t relate to several aspects of the story, but I know that many will. I can see this book being read and discussed in college classrooms. For books with difficult and traumatic themes, it’s hard to say “I love this book”, but it is more appropriate in this instance for me to say “this book means something to me.” My original read was the digital copy as my last read of 2020, but after completion I reached out to the author to buy this signed physical copy. Emily was very kind to me, and I thank her for writing this book. 5/5⭐️

  14. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    This book was not at all what I was expecting based on the description. I really don’t think the blurb matches the content. This was a coming of age story of a young girl, Stephanie, raised in a very religious family. Stephanie’s mother is pretty mentally unwell, and the family is divided, Stephanie and her mom vs her dad and sister. This obviously causes problems on it’s own but Stephanie’s mothers mental illness makes it much worse. This is really more a story of family trouble than anything, This book was not at all what I was expecting based on the description. I really don’t think the blurb matches the content. This was a coming of age story of a young girl, Stephanie, raised in a very religious family. Stephanie’s mother is pretty mentally unwell, and the family is divided, Stephanie and her mom vs her dad and sister. This obviously causes problems on it’s own but Stephanie’s mothers mental illness makes it much worse. This is really more a story of family trouble than anything, the blurb made this book sound like it was about abortion in a religious family but it’s really not. The blurb mentions the pastor grandfather like he’s some major player, but he’s a pretty minor character. I liked the story but it felt like there was a lot cut during the editing process. Like maybe originally the grandfather was a bigger player. Maybe the abortion was a bigger part of it. I don’t know. It was well written, the plot just felt disjointed. This story has a lot of content that could be triggering to some people.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan Beamon

    This book was both easy to read and hard. Easy because it was very well written. Each word, phrase and sentence compelled the next. Hard because, while it is a growing up story, it tells of a family fractured from its beginnings through the eyes of one who is least able to understand it. I know for myself, as I got older and gained experience, very often thinking back on something I thought I understood, I would go "Oh, that's what that was about". Our heroine, Stephanie Walters, is a girl of ab This book was both easy to read and hard. Easy because it was very well written. Each word, phrase and sentence compelled the next. Hard because, while it is a growing up story, it tells of a family fractured from its beginnings through the eyes of one who is least able to understand it. I know for myself, as I got older and gained experience, very often thinking back on something I thought I understood, I would go "Oh, that's what that was about". Our heroine, Stephanie Walters, is a girl of about 10 when we meet her. She is the youngest child in her family. It's a small family, Mom, Dad and two girls. Her grandfather is a preacher for the Church of Christ church her family attends. Her grandfather said and she believes that people who don't belong to the Church of Christ are going to hell. Stephanie's mother is mentally ill. She has divided the family into two groups, her and Stephanie are one group, her father and older sister are the other. Eventually, her mother just takes off and won't return. Stephanie sort of knows where her mother is. She visits occasionally. Each time she thinks, because her mother has said so, things will be good and normal, and each time they aren't. Her father remarries, but she will not accept her step-mother. She moves in with one of her friends. She has relationships that are not proper for one as young as she is. She looses people. We leave Stephanie when she is 15. She has returned home. Her relationship with her grandparents is non-existent. She gently tolerates her step-mother. She rediscovers her feelings for her older sister. She comes to terms with the lies her mother told her. She may not be an old soul, but she has more mileage on her than other girls her age. I liked the book. It's more of a literary novel that anything else, and I don't favor those. But once I started this book, I could not put it down until I finished the story. I received the copy of the book I read for this review from the publisher, Greenleaf Book Group Press .

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Coluccio

    Stephanie Walters is six-years-old when she first hears her grandfather debate on the topic of abortion. Standing in the pews, enamored with her family’s patriarch, Stephanie would never fathom the abuse his ideals could wield and the destruction it could have on her family. We watch Stephanie come of age amidst this destruction. Our heart breaks for her as she wrestles the claustrophobia of oppressive ideals & and the emotional abuse of a mother with her own repressed traumas. As she grows, she Stephanie Walters is six-years-old when she first hears her grandfather debate on the topic of abortion. Standing in the pews, enamored with her family’s patriarch, Stephanie would never fathom the abuse his ideals could wield and the destruction it could have on her family. We watch Stephanie come of age amidst this destruction. Our heart breaks for her as she wrestles the claustrophobia of oppressive ideals & and the emotional abuse of a mother with her own repressed traumas. As she grows, she contends with her own mixed feelings about religion and science, love and hate, lies and truth. She is ultimately forced to reckon with a life of psychological manipulation in order to make peace with herself and her family. The powerful thing about this novel is how easily it could’ve fallen to cliches, and how precise Medley was in her ability to prevent that. When I walked into the novel, I was expecting an overtly political storyline about a 1970s Southern Christian church and its campaign against abortion. What I received was a thoughtful, if not challenging, story about family dynamics- particularly, the mother/daughter relationship- and the devastating effects of cyclical family trauma. There are some big moments that I felt were rushed into for dramatic effect and then glossed over, but the crux of this story lies in the relationship between Stephanie and her mother, which I though was beautifully developed. I did struggle with the depictions of emotional and sexual abuse, though I felt Medley was careful in her treatment of these sensitive topics. Still, this was my own reading experience, and I would strongly encourage others to consider their ability to handle scenes depicting rape and an aggressive, forced abortion, respectively, before picking this one up. Overall, I really liked this book. It’s structured into three parts, each with a handful of chapters, and this format made it easy to read quickly despite the whopping 647 pages. I’d like to thank Net Galley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this advanced ebook edition!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    *special thanks to NetGalley for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review! 4 stars This book contains very testy subjects, which I knew going in. It mentions in the description that it will discuss abortion, but mental health, and physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse are also discussed. It was interesting to get a child’s perspective on a subject as divisive as abortion. Especially since when we begin, that child is only 5 years old. We also get her perspectives on other subjects *special thanks to NetGalley for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review! 4 stars This book contains very testy subjects, which I knew going in. It mentions in the description that it will discuss abortion, but mental health, and physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse are also discussed. It was interesting to get a child’s perspective on a subject as divisive as abortion. Especially since when we begin, that child is only 5 years old. We also get her perspectives on other subjects, such as abuse of all kinds and mental illness. This was a hard one to read because a 5/8/10 year old doesn’t necessarily know what these look like or what it is and so their perspective is innocent. It also make everything all the more vulnerable, because a child doesn’t always know that all these things they are discussing are so awful. This also shined a light on a type of abuse that isn’t portrayed as often as sexual, emotional, or physical (though it shows those too and those are as equally valid). It shows the damage that can be done with spiritual abuse. You can see the effects of spiritual abuse in the beginning when Stephanie is only 5 and is talking about all the different things you can do it be sent to hell. She grows up throughout the book and her perspectives changes, but it never got any less difficult to read. This shows how hypocritical some religions (or cults) can be, and it’s infuriating. I found that even with all the rough content, I enjoyed this book. I thought it was very well written, and though is touched on tricky subjects, I thought it was done with grace.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Allie

    If asked to describe this book in three words, I’d say Dark. Brutal. Heartbreaking. This book was a struggle to get through. A whole lot going on for a young girl in the 70s and a whole lot of terrible people around her. Lily might easily win the worst fictional mother of all time award. I am sensitive to mental health and think it’s something that has taken too long to be addressed in our society, it’s unfortunate Lily never got the real help she needed. Stephanie is raised in a very broken hou If asked to describe this book in three words, I’d say Dark. Brutal. Heartbreaking. This book was a struggle to get through. A whole lot going on for a young girl in the 70s and a whole lot of terrible people around her. Lily might easily win the worst fictional mother of all time award. I am sensitive to mental health and think it’s something that has taken too long to be addressed in our society, it’s unfortunate Lily never got the real help she needed. Stephanie is raised in a very broken household and the effect it has on her is very apparent to the reader. She doesn’t have a good or healthy relationship with anyone in her home and barely has any good relationships outside the home. Her mother pits her against her sister and father with whispers of them having an unhealthy/inappropriate father/daughter relationship. Stephanie takes all her frustration out on her sister and seeks vengeance at every turn. The minimal relief she gets in life left me laughing in awe at what it took to get her there. Author does a great job of capturing the internal monologue of a young girl and how that changes as she ages and through her different life experiences. The writing was absolutely successful in eliciting all the emotions it wanted to - anger, frustration, annoyance. So in that regard it was written perfectly, but I also hated it every step of the way because of that. I’m giving it 4 stars because it is quite well written, but if I were rating this on my personal scale based on my reads/genres/topics of interest, it’d probably be 3 stars. Trigger warnings for child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, religion. Thanks Green Leaf for providing me a copy!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Wow. I have to admit that From the Moon I Watched Her left me a bit speechless. This book was completely heartbreaking. It doesn't reflect organized religion in a positive light. The Walters family is affected by mental illness and the structure of the family has been severely weakened. The main character, Stephanie, is close with her mother which is unfortunate since she is extremely unbalanced. Of course, her father has his own issues as well. The dysfunction of her parents extends to both Ste Wow. I have to admit that From the Moon I Watched Her left me a bit speechless. This book was completely heartbreaking. It doesn't reflect organized religion in a positive light. The Walters family is affected by mental illness and the structure of the family has been severely weakened. The main character, Stephanie, is close with her mother which is unfortunate since she is extremely unbalanced. Of course, her father has his own issues as well. The dysfunction of her parents extends to both Stephanie and her sister and impacts their relationship as well. The book shows how life's events lead to rifts in people and families that sometimes cannot be repaired or undone. I felt like anything bad that could happen to Stephanie did. It seemed that nothing positive or good ever happened to her. With every page I turned, I wanted just one good thing to occur. It seemed like the storyline went negative to the "extreme" ...at least in my opinion. That said, the book really was beautifully written. There was some really incredible symbolism and this author is definitely talented. Sadly, it took until the end of the book to finally see a glimmer of hope and it was after a ton of negative events happened to Stephanie. I, personally, would have liked to see a little more positivity. However, I realize that's my personal opinion. Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. I voluntarily chose to review this book and the opinions contained within are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Forbau

    From The Moon I Watched Her is a beautifully written story about hope and trust and lies and truth, about abuse and sex and shame, about family and friendship, about faith and religion, about manipulation and fear, about holding on and letting go, and about so many secrets. But mostly it’s about mental illness, the chaos it can create when untreated, the pain an entire family can live with when mental illness is stigmatized, and a little girl named Stephanie who has to deal with all of the above From The Moon I Watched Her is a beautifully written story about hope and trust and lies and truth, about abuse and sex and shame, about family and friendship, about faith and religion, about manipulation and fear, about holding on and letting go, and about so many secrets. But mostly it’s about mental illness, the chaos it can create when untreated, the pain an entire family can live with when mental illness is stigmatized, and a little girl named Stephanie who has to deal with all of the above. The author allows us to bear witness through the eyes of young Stephanie, what can happen behind closed doors when a child is exposed at a young age to pornography and the devastating shame it can cause. We listen to sermons through Stephanie’s bored ears and watch her struggle to make sense of the lessons in her tumultuous life. I stayed up late, reading this book in one sitting. I found myself holding my breath, fighting tears, and rooting hard for Stephanie to overcome all that life has put on her young shoulders. This may be the first book I’ve read like this,through the voice of a child. It did make it uncomfortable to read at times, but not hard to read. The author handles the subject matter with the weight it deserves and with just enough humor to keep you from suffocating under the heaviness. I will be thinking about this book and all the Stephanies in the world for a very long time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dani BusyBee

    This book was haunting in many ways to me, personally having a parent with mental illness makes an impact on you that never truly goes away. At first, I did not think I was able to get thru the book because of the religious undertone of the book. This book is not about religion it's about survival against the odds. Having a child at the same age as Stephanie was in the book during a horrible trauma was daunting. I wanted to jump in the book and rescue her. I felt a sense of anger towards everyon This book was haunting in many ways to me, personally having a parent with mental illness makes an impact on you that never truly goes away. At first, I did not think I was able to get thru the book because of the religious undertone of the book. This book is not about religion it's about survival against the odds. Having a child at the same age as Stephanie was in the book during a horrible trauma was daunting. I wanted to jump in the book and rescue her. I felt a sense of anger towards everyone around her who did nothing to help, who turned their blind eyes to her suffering. But in the same token felt sorry for a mother who could not help who she was, was powerless which ultimately is what mental illness is and does to a person. I felt sad and sorry for Stephanie's mom. I didn't connect with several characters of the book, but ultimately this story to me was about the relationship between the mother and daughter and how that shaped the girl's upbringing. I can't imagine going thru such awful things so early on and come out on the other end as a sane person. I couldn't put the book down towards the half-end of the book. I needed to know what happened and that's kudos to the author- I was hooked after the first 30 pages of the book. Will look forward to other books written by this author.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erica Franco

    Wow, so happy I won a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaway! Not sure if I would have picked it up otherwise based on the description, but it turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a while. Although it tells the story of an ultra-religious family in a cult-like church, I didn't feel like the religious aspect was overbearing. It's a dark and disturbing read so if you are bothered by things like sexual abuse, parental neglect, mental illness, etc. then this isn't for you. But i Wow, so happy I won a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaway! Not sure if I would have picked it up otherwise based on the description, but it turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a while. Although it tells the story of an ultra-religious family in a cult-like church, I didn't feel like the religious aspect was overbearing. It's a dark and disturbing read so if you are bothered by things like sexual abuse, parental neglect, mental illness, etc. then this isn't for you. But if you don't mind reading about dark and heavy topics, this is a very powerful and well-written story. We see the narrator, Stephanie, grow up in a completely dysfunctional family with no reliable adults. The book starts with Stephanie as a 5-year old and I thought the author did a wonderful job capturing the voice of a child who is unaware of all that is wrong in her family. As she grows up, we see the inner turmoil she experiences from hating her parents and their actions and yet still yearning for their love. I found it to be a very well executed coming of age story about a lost soul growing up in a broken home. It painfully conveys the struggle of growing up without security, protection, and unconditional love.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Madeline Elsinga

    Thank you Netgalley and Greenleaf Book Group for the eARC! The writing in the beginning Reminds me of “Room” as it’s narrated and written in a child like way for the first few chapters when Stephanie is 5 years old. Really dark and heavy story about coming of age and how abuse affects children, and watching Stephanie process her trauma as she gets older. It can be difficult to read due to the content (specifically around abuse). I did like the writing style and how it became more complex as Stepha Thank you Netgalley and Greenleaf Book Group for the eARC! The writing in the beginning Reminds me of “Room” as it’s narrated and written in a child like way for the first few chapters when Stephanie is 5 years old. Really dark and heavy story about coming of age and how abuse affects children, and watching Stephanie process her trauma as she gets older. It can be difficult to read due to the content (specifically around abuse). I did like the writing style and how it became more complex as Stephanie grew up Takes an interesting look at growing up in a home with toxic parents, one of whom struggles with mental illness, and extreme religious teachings. It’s Difficult to put into words how I feel about the book as it is so dark and emotional. It was an interesting story though and I “enjoyed it” as much as you can enjoy such a heavy, difficult topic. The characters are complex, making me feel empathy for them at times and yet other times I became frustrated-especially with the mother. I could see a lot of parallels between my grandmothers actions and this story’s mother which made it harder to read. If you have the headspace and don’t mind darker stories, highly recommend checking this one out.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    There are several religious-centered books that hit the right note of entertaining the masses while remaining “Christ-focused.” The Book of Essie vaguely comes to mind, as well as several others. However, I found that this book to be unique as it maintained a gloomier story line with more triggering themes and events. From the Moon I Watched Her is a book that swirls with darkness. Centered on a family hiding their secrets despite their outward religious devotion. This read follows Stephanie thr There are several religious-centered books that hit the right note of entertaining the masses while remaining “Christ-focused.” The Book of Essie vaguely comes to mind, as well as several others. However, I found that this book to be unique as it maintained a gloomier story line with more triggering themes and events. From the Moon I Watched Her is a book that swirls with darkness. Centered on a family hiding their secrets despite their outward religious devotion. This read follows Stephanie through adolescent as she tries to understand her family, her religion and the outside world. Readers be warned that are many trigger warnings that arise making this read not for the faint of heart. Capturing young daughters, broken mothers and family shame. All these tragic elements combine in this deeply religious, coming of age story. Author, Emily English Medley has crafted a well-organized and well-paced jaunt through the upbringing of a troubled family, but readers prepare as the narrative is heavily driven by the religious aspects of our protagonist’s family history. *Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher; all opinions are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher. It was truly a story I didn't want to read, but also couldn't stop reading. A young girl growing up in a harshly religious family, where fear is used to control your thoughts, words and actions, finds herself dealing with the feeling of shame over and over again. Her household is unstable, her mother has severe mental health issues, and she has no way to reconcile all of the sexual situations she is exposed to before she has even reache I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher. It was truly a story I didn't want to read, but also couldn't stop reading. A young girl growing up in a harshly religious family, where fear is used to control your thoughts, words and actions, finds herself dealing with the feeling of shame over and over again. Her household is unstable, her mother has severe mental health issues, and she has no way to reconcile all of the sexual situations she is exposed to before she has even reached puberty. Overall I feel like the story that the author is trying to tell is relevant, but perhaps it needed more time, more important details, just more. It was as though I was reading the condensed movie version of a book. There is a lot to say about all of the things that go on behind closed doors and that get shoved into closets and swept under rugs all in the name of religion and keeping a certain face. I think this could have been more in the 500 page range and been even better than it was. Worth reading, but leaves the reader with too many, "But wait... what just happened?" and "what did I miss here?" moments.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan Atherton

    ***Review taken from by blog meglovesreading.wordpress.com*** 1.5 stars rounded up to 2. Thank you to NetGalley and GreenLeaf Book Group Press for sending me an ARC of this book for free in exchange for an honest review! I thought that this book was going to be about the debate surrounding abortion and that's why I picked it up. However, the discussion of abortion doesn't even really come into play until you've read 90% of the book (I wish I was kidding). There are a few hints at it, but abortion i ***Review taken from by blog meglovesreading.wordpress.com*** 1.5 stars rounded up to 2. Thank you to NetGalley and GreenLeaf Book Group Press for sending me an ARC of this book for free in exchange for an honest review! I thought that this book was going to be about the debate surrounding abortion and that's why I picked it up. However, the discussion of abortion doesn't even really come into play until you've read 90% of the book (I wish I was kidding). There are a few hints at it, but abortion isn't truly discussed until you're basically done with the book so that was extremely disappointing for me. I thought that the book was going to be how Stephanie finds out her mother had an abortion and then realizes that the church might be wrong about some things, but that's not how the book goes at all. Another thing that upset me was the author does not hold back when it comes to sensitive subjects. There is plenty of scenes involving rape, molestation, pedophilia, and drug abuse among other things, so if you're sensitive to any of those topics, avoid this book. There's one scene where Stephanie (at age 6) steals her dad's Playboy magazines and masturbates to the photos inside of them and thinks about how she wants to be "sexy" like the women in the magazine. The book even describes her moaning. That's just one of the many problematic scenes in this book. I don't want to go into detail, but some of them are disturbing. I didn't completely hate this book. I did enjoy the religious aspect at some times. At the beginning of chapter 3, there are lyrics to a song that I used to sing at church called "They'll Know We Are Christians" and that made me want to become religious again because I really miss going to church. If you're not into content that might be triggering or overly religious tones, this book isn't for you. If you want to read the coming-of-age story of a girl in the 70s, pick this up. Every review on Amazon is very positive for this book, so maybe I'm just a hater of historical fiction, but who knows. It's just my opinion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)

    This book was a heavy, difficult read. I want to preface this review with a very strong content warning. This book will not be for everyone. Make sure to read the content warning before you decide if this is for you if you have sensitivities or triggers when reading. Stephanie is our narrator and the main character in this book. We follow her as she ages, but her first narrative is at five-years-old. We find out that Stephanie’s father is the local preacher, extremely against the act of abortion, This book was a heavy, difficult read. I want to preface this review with a very strong content warning. This book will not be for everyone. Make sure to read the content warning before you decide if this is for you if you have sensitivities or triggers when reading. Stephanie is our narrator and the main character in this book. We follow her as she ages, but her first narrative is at five-years-old. We find out that Stephanie’s father is the local preacher, extremely against the act of abortion, and yet, we soon discover that inside the preacher’s home and private life, things are disgusting, ugly, and awful. Medley’s writing is amazing. The writing creates such emotion, good and bad, you can’t help but be impressed. It’s an all-consuming read that I could not walk away from. I don’t think it’s possible for me to say that this was a book I loved. The tragic and horrifying events in the book make it hard to say that, however, this is a book that impacted me and I won’t easily forget. Content Warnings: Abortion, very religious tones, mental illness, father/daughter sexual relationship, sexual relationship between young girl and boys, animal abuse, adultery I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I read this book without reading the synopsis and I’m glad because that is not enough to prepare anyone for this book. This is a book that you just have to sort of immerse yourself in and go for the ride, which isn’t that hard because the author is an engaging writer. This book tells the story of Stephanie and her family who aren’t what they seem. Ever. Even to us or to her or to each other. It is a deep look at, in my opinion, how damaging religion can be when people aren’t allowed to engage wi I read this book without reading the synopsis and I’m glad because that is not enough to prepare anyone for this book. This is a book that you just have to sort of immerse yourself in and go for the ride, which isn’t that hard because the author is an engaging writer. This book tells the story of Stephanie and her family who aren’t what they seem. Ever. Even to us or to her or to each other. It is a deep look at, in my opinion, how damaging religion can be when people aren’t allowed to engage with the truth directly. As someone who has experienced many of the events described in these pages, and let me tell you there are trigger warnings for damn near everything you can think of, this author gets so many things right. The chaos in this family is unmatched. It was a quick read, but be prepared to repeatedly ask yourself if you are really in this for the whole trip even as you find yourself continuing to turn pages. I don’t know if there is much of a “point” to this story, but it will certainly expand your horizons about the way the world works for some.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Babs

    Medley’s, From the Moon I Watched Her, is a story set in a suburban town in Texas where Medley walks the reader through the life of a young girl, Stephanie, as she navigates her tumultuous home life within the confines of a society that is struggling to come of age as well. Medley weaves the microscopic issues of a young girl, Stephanie, into the fabric of the macroscopic events of the 1970’s addressing moral and social issues including the war, God and the church, legalization of abortion, poli Medley’s, From the Moon I Watched Her, is a story set in a suburban town in Texas where Medley walks the reader through the life of a young girl, Stephanie, as she navigates her tumultuous home life within the confines of a society that is struggling to come of age as well. Medley weaves the microscopic issues of a young girl, Stephanie, into the fabric of the macroscopic events of the 1970’s addressing moral and social issues including the war, God and the church, legalization of abortion, political distrust and scandals, women’s rights, and the popularization of main stream porn flicks. Through the very simplistic voice of a growing child, Medley allows the reader to join her on a difficult road of discovery and hope. Stephanie struggles, much like the nation at large, to understand the life she was handed, the life she chose and the life thrust upon her. On the surface, it is a collection of one person’s tragic life but for those who are willing, it is far more complex and deeper in meaning than just that. A must read for those who will accept the challenge.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chayla Horan

    I would say to all these reviewers that say this book is hard to read that it is NOT hard to read. It’s not that. Its more than that. It’s hard to live in a world where child sexual abuse exists, and this book shines a floodlight on the topic. Such a beautifully written and eye opening novel to read, and one that no matter how raw and uncomfortable, is worth the discomfort in some of the darker scenes. It’s hurtful to think about and imagine what goes on behind closed doors with so many children. I would say to all these reviewers that say this book is hard to read that it is NOT hard to read. It’s not that. Its more than that. It’s hard to live in a world where child sexual abuse exists, and this book shines a floodlight on the topic. Such a beautifully written and eye opening novel to read, and one that no matter how raw and uncomfortable, is worth the discomfort in some of the darker scenes. It’s hurtful to think about and imagine what goes on behind closed doors with so many children. Yet I wonder how many other kids, and young girls and boys that are now adults have had the thoughts and feelings of Stephanie as a child but could never talk about it because stuff like that shouldn’t be talked about and is supposed to be overlooked. I admire the author for bringing such honesty and transparency to all of her readers over topics that aren’t much talked about. An unforgettable and powerful story.

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