Saturday 17 February 2024

Mayluna by Kelley McNeil | Book Review

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My rating: 5/5
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication date: 1st February 2024

In the 1990s, Carter Wills was the lead singer of the English alt-rock band Mayluna, securing his place among music legends. His tortured-heart lyrics struck a chord. And so did his secret connection to a woman whose love changed all their lives. Who was she?

Evie Waters’s two grown children discover an iconic photo in an old magazine of a “mystery girl” with Carter: their mother. It all started in a wistful time and place for Evie, her twenty-fifth summer. A young columnist forging her career. Backstage euphoria. A long-shot interview. And an almost cosmic connection with an enigmatic musician on the rise.

What happened between them is a hidden story no one, not even Evie’s family, knows. Until now. Worlds apart, Carter and Evie finally reveal the story—joyful, regretful, and unforgettable. It was a time when the stars aligned for a love so profound the whole world felt it. It was as if it would last forever.

At the time of writing this review, I have just finished the book, my eyes are full of tears and my heart is beating hard against my chest. This book is beautiful and heartbreaking.

Mayluna, a British alt-rock band are telling their story to a journalist on the way to their next gig in Rio. When questioned about a particular photo with a girl known simply as "mystery girl in studio", frontman Carter Wills finally shares who Cameron Leigh was.

Through alternating chapters, Evie Waters' husband Steve has just died and their adult children Lucas and Lainey are reminiscing through boxes in their childhood home. They discover a lot of magazines featuring Mayluna and upon landing on the same photo, they realise "mystery girl in studio" reminds them a lot of Lainey.

Evie finally recounts the story of her life before children to them and it feels like a completely different person in comparison to the mother they knew. How she went by a pen name and was trying to make a name for herself in the world of journalism. How she fell in a deep love with Mayluna's Carter Wills and the story right up until present day. It is sort of a "one that got away" tale but the love was never gone. 

Kelley McNeil writes in the most beautiful way, I have highlighted so many stunning lines. I absolutely fell in love with these characters and although some tough decisions were made, the exploration of them were handled very well. 

I was fully immersed in this world and felt every emotion. I got 92% into the book before my heart plummeted into my chest and I realised how it was going to end. The very last two chapters were absolutely perfect. Kelley McNeil, you have shattered my heart into a million pieces. 

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