15791169Reviewed by Lauren Cannavino

Memoirs that speak of personal hardships and the resulting journeys are great for making the reader step back and think about life, love and tribulations even if the story is far from resembling a familiar life. Once Upon a Gypsy Moon is the true story of Michael Hurley choosing to pull himself from despair and changing his life to set sail on the sea, alone aboard his ship the Gypsy Moon in order to find his direction, and ultimately regain and rediscover his personal purpose in life. Hurley explains the past that brought him to the point of seeking redemption for himself through a journey only he can complete with stark clarity and never once blames anyone or anything for how his life turned out other than himself. There is a strong Christian undertone to the book, but Hurley does not sermonize or attempt to tell the reader that his beliefs are the only right ones; he instead uses it as a device that helped him push through his problems and move forward in his daily life.

Michael Hurley is a man who had a happy, perfect on paper life for awhile, only to see it all come crumbling apart after having an affair. Yes this affair, which Hurley readily admits was his own doing and his fault, was not the singular reason for the changes in his life and his way of looking at the world but it was the cataclysmic event that probably sparked the fire. After his family broke apart, Hurley began to see a massive downgrade in his career and that too eventually went down with him. Feeling the need, and rightfully so, for redemption and rebirth, he started over. Never forgetting what brought him to this point or what brought him to the point of needing to seek salvation, he decided to set out from Annapolis, Maryland aboard his little ship for a solitary adventure toward Nassau.

What he learns, nautically, spiritually and emotionally as a result of preparing for this trip as well as experiencing it, ultimately saves him. He meets people, gains lessons on the sea, life, God, love and himself. Hurley is a great conversationalist; his words are warm, frank, and significant. He is someone that you want to see pull his ship out of the wreckage, as well as his life. Pun intended. The journey that Hurley undertook may not be attainable for all to complete, but his passion, his pain and his determination to find a new start is catching. Once Upon a Gypsy Moon is a great memoir, one that doesn’t blame shift, preach, beg for sympathy or alienate readers. Hurley’s writing style is clean and as he is finding his place, he wants the reader right along side of him as he relates what made him the man he is today.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.com.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Kelley & Hall Publicity. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.