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Twelve Moons: The most beautiful and inspiring memoir you’ll read in 2023

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Caro Giles lives on the far edge of the country, with her tribe of daughters: The Mermaid, The Whirlwind, The Caulbearer and The Littlest One. She is at once alone and yet surrounded. Bound by circumstance, financial constraints, illness and the challenges of single motherhood, she has nowhere to go but the fierce landscape that surrounds her. I don’t think I’ve ever met a creative woman who wasn’t into the moon. This book is, at its core — a love story between a woman; a creative; a mother — and the moon. It is also a telling of the way life can be shaped by circumstances outside of our control; impacted on by people, events and things we have no way of influencing. More so, though, it is a story of how one person — perhaps particularly a mother — holds, within their busy, tired hands – the power to change the world; to take a dark time and make it shine.

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A memoir told over 12 moons. A newly single mom and her 4 daughters (including one with specific needs) navigate their small town lifestyle with lots of nature hikes, singing, occasional quarantines, and ocean swimming. Sometimes the use of candles and their mystical power is a bit too much, but this mother's fortitude is incredible. The most beautiful and inspiring memoir you'll read in 2023, Twelve Moons follows a year spent caught between the wild sea and the changing moon of the wide Northumberland skies. Caro Giles lives on the far edge of the country, with her tribe of daughters: The Mermaid, The Whirlwind, The Caulbearer and The Littlest One. She is at once alone and yet surrounded. Haydn Gwynne joins Nikki Bedi and Richard Coles. The actor talks about her latest role in The Great British Bake Off Musical. Since deciding to pursue acting in her mid-twenties, Gwynne has had a varied career on stage and screen, including playing Camilla in The Windsors.I loved that the Full Moon each month was a focal point. How important it was to find that familiar glow, sometimes in amongst deep cloud, sometimes a bright summer night sky...it was a constant in an ever changing and evolving world.

A single mum and her girls go wild up north - PressReader

This balance between motherhood and desiring individual freedom is something returned to throughout the text. The question of how can we do or be both is a powerful one. The answer is elusive, but part of it seems to be attached in the solace of the landscape, the wilderness of the Northumberland coast where the writer lives and, of course, the moon. The familiar certainty of its stages helped provide a certainty and reassurance in contrast to the unpredictability of life. It is, figuratively and literally, a light in the dark. Descriptions of the natural world permeate the novel, charting the ebbs and flows of the family’s life across a whole year. They are beautifully drawn and highlight the necessity of place in allowing fullness of life to take place whilst providing restoration for all the protagonists. It is here they can be truly themselves; the book felt just as much a love letter to the natural landscape as it did to her daughters. A dazzlingly honest memoir that while never turning away from the awkward truths of life, also shows how love will flourish if we can only find a space for ourselves. Set against windswept beaches and ancient hills of Northumberland, this is a story steeped in nature and landscape.

Addington and Ellis argue for a noble cause, but Crewe, an editor at the London Review of Books, does not allow them to be idols. They can be jealous, selfish and lustful, obsessing over intellectual arguments (the works of Walt Whitman and the ancient Greeks feature often) rather than considering how their choices will affect their loved ones. This complexity of character makes The New Life an adroit novel of ethics. “Her face injured him with its familiarity,” Crewe writes of Catherine, Addington’s wife. “‘I did not marry for this,’ she said.” This is a debut memoir that will particularly resonate with anyone who has had their life smashed apart and needed to dig deep, just to keep going. In Caro Giles’s case that’s the reality of divorce and the everyday needs of her tribe of four daughters. Given that she is writing so close to the traumas and challenges, there is a rawness in Twelve Moons that makes for challenging reading at times. But you will soon see that love and tenderness permeate every aspect of the lives we read about. Written with intelligence - a blend of lightness, elegance, and even the elegiac, Twelve Moons immerses you in the Northumbrian landscape, with excursions to other quiet places. This is not the life Caro Giles envisaged - an important thread of the read is to see how she adapts to dramatically changed circumstances simply to make things work… to get through the days.

BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Live, Haydn Gwynne BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Live, Haydn Gwynne

In these hours when the world is sleeping, I feel invincible. I am a mother of course, but I am also the promise of my own future, of who I can become. As I sit and watch the shadows cast from the candles, I see myself dancing, skirt spinning, hair caught in the wind, and I know that a better version of me is emerging .’I shared this book with a good friend, a mum like me whose everyday mothering strays from the conventional. There are plenty of us out there, raising anxious, poorly, neurodivergent children; dealing with schools, agencies and well meaning people who just don’t understand. I told her that reading memoirs like this make me feel less alone, in sisterhood with others who tread the wild pathways too.

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