The Confession of Stella Moon by Shelley Day

30840199Sometimes a book title just grabs your attention and “The Confession of Stella Moon” was the one that grabbed mine – something just screamed out dark and quirky to me and that tagline #BecauseDarkSecretsDontDecompose just oozed intrigue!

What the blurb says:

A timely and intelligent book’ – AL Kennedy. 1977: A killer is released from prison and returns ‘home’ – a decaying, deserted boarding house choked with weeds and foreboding. Memories of strange rituals, gruesome secrets and shame hang heavy in the air, exerting a brooding power over young Stella Moon. She is eager to restart her life, but first, she must confront the ghosts of her macabre family history and her own shocking crime. Guilt, paranoia and manipulation have woven a tangled web. All is ambiguous. What truth and what lies are behind the chilling confession of Stella Moon?

My review:

Twenty-five year old Stella Moon has just been released from prison. It’s 1977 and she has served 7 years for the murder of her mother. With nowhere to go, Stella Moon is compelled to return to her family home – a compulsion that is driven by more than just a need for somewhere to stay.  It becomes clear that home was not a happy place for Stella and what follows is a dark and macabre tale of secrets, lies and manipulation.

I have read and reviewed some dark books in my time but “The Confession of Stella Moon” takes dark and dysfunctional to a whole new level! Stella Moon, the main character is an enigma, there is something so very vulnerable and troubled about her but there is also a brutal rawness about her character that made me want to reach out to her yet recoil from her at the same time. As her story unfolds and the memories come tumbling out we meet her mother Muriel and her grandmother, Ruby who both sent shivers up and down my spine. As their role in Stella’s life was portrayed it became clear that Stella had been the victim of manipulative and damaged role models throughout her childhood. Frank Fenshaw, a lodger in Stella’s home as a child – let’s just say my skin crawled with that man. Gareth Davies is Stella’s Probation Officer and what a bloody cretin he turned out to be! I swithered between feeling sorry for him being out his depth in the role he had chosen to wanting to slap him for becoming just another manipulator on Stella’s life! Shelley Day has done a wonderful job in creating a cast of characters so dysfunctional that even Jeremy Kyle would reject them from his show!

“The Confession of Stella Moon” paints and a dark and bleak picture of 1970s Newcastle and the North East; such was the excellent portrayal I could see the words play out on a screen inside my head! I’d be intrigued to see this book adapted to our TV screens indeed!

Shelley Day gives us matricide, murdered babies, mental health and manipulation all wrapped up into a gruesome package. Readers may recoil at some scenes but it is not a “shock horror” type of read. It is a heart-wrenching, emotionally and intelligently written novel that will see Stella Moon creep inside your head long after the last page is turned!

To buy the book you can click on the link below:


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