Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve
Most laundromats in large cities are unattended but there are some that offer a service of careful washing and ironing. One such business In Melbourne is the unglamorous setting of ‘A Solitary Walk on the Moon’.
It is operated by Evelyn, the chief character, and she is dedicated to giving a service of the highest standards. She even irons creases in shirts for one customer to make it appear newly purchased – and not yet washed before wearing! She actually goes to the length of buying an expensive one from a department store in order to exactly match the creases from packaging….
This indicates that A Solitary Walk on the Moon is both detailed and trivial. Yet it manages to evolve into more than that.
Evelyn is keenly observant and indulges in imagined scenarios, constructing stories around her every day. This mind wandering, I found at times overly lengthy and annoying.
She attempts to contribute to people’s lives but it backfires occasionally, as the incident at the model train enthusiasts rally shows. Her swapping items in their parcels caused consternation but ultimately was a positive. The group found a new way to interact and exchange their precious engines, carriages and such. Mishaps like this don’t deter Evelyn, however, and she continues to invent strategies to settle situations or solve problems.
One rather outrageous one is where she goes to great effort to disguise herself to thereby check the trustworthiness of June, one of her new friends.
Besides June, there is 8-year-old Ben her son, Phillip the model train lover, and Don who has the local paint shop.
Evelyn had a childhood deprived of love and affection so her care and warmth towards Ben is understandable. Although she was hampered at first by her rigid, judgmental outlook, she becomes the centre of the little group of easygoing Don, June battling drug addiction and her son Ben.
If there is a message, it is that caring and kindness are important to all and have a healing power that can alter lives, perhaps for the better. Connected to this group, Evelyn herself becomes a more understanding woman.
Hilde Hilton’s book will appeal to many, especially those who enjoy warm and fuzzy feelings.
There seems to be a wave of female authors relating the special qualities of quirky eccentric characters and Evelyn’s story could be added. It was easy to read, to the degree that I found I was often tempted to skim the text. Unlike the pace of bustling Melbourne, it was very slow. In fact, it felt more like the atmosphere of a small country town.
A Solitary Walk on the Moon is a gentle, sometimes surprising novel. For instance, at one stage, Evelyn assumes the detective role and exposes a scam, yet another of her entertaining escapades.
It is her imagination that takes us on a heartening journey describing causes that are not necessarily always lost….
A Solitary Walk on the Moon
by Hilde Hinton
ISBN 978 073364 704 8