Mary's Blog:
How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book



Read an excerpt of Qualities of Light

Mary Carroll Moore Interviewed on NPR
Mary talks to Faith Middleton on WNPR (90.5 FM) about her novel Qualities of Light.
Listen now >

Read Qualities of Light
Press Release

Read the Litchfield County Times Interview

Coming Soon: Breathing Room, the sequel to Qualities of Light

Luna by Mary Carroll Moore

Read Mary's short Story Luna




Moore has written a quietly compelling and well-rendered account of a young girls' life-altering summer.  It is the heartfelt story of family, friendship, and, against all odds, budding love.

—Jonathan Odell, author of The Healing


A beautifully crafted coming-of-age story.  Delivers in ways that will surorise and move readers of all ages.

—Juliann Rich, author of the Crossfire series and Gravity

In a wilderness that mirrors her intense interior life, young artist Molly Fisher comes of age, revealing her heart to the reader in unforgettably intimate and authentic ways.  A story that will both haunt and comfort.

—Rachel Moulton, author of Tinfoil Butterfly

Moore traces the contours of shadow without ever letting us forget the transformative power of light.

—Kaethe Schwehn, author of The Rending and the Nest

A skillfully crafted novel that both moved and entertained me as I followed Molly's summer journey.
—Catherine Friend, author of Hit By a Farm

A sensitive exploration of the cruelty and kindness—the intricate balancing act—that is family love. I couldn't recommend it more highly. —Ellen Hart, author of the Jane Lawless mysteries

(Qualities of Light) made me feel as if I were a one of the characters. It is a wonderful novel and I recommend it to any young-adult reader who enjoys romance novels. —Flaming Net Teen Book Reviews

A wonderful, engagingly nuanced coming out story that deserves attention. —Out In Print

In Moore’s gifted hands, Molly is a highly nuanced yet highly believable character. —Lavender Magazine

This is a serious, but interesting book. ... For those looking for a book with some depth, this may be it. —Lynne Pierce, Just About Write

Anyone who has lived through the awkwardness of dawning adulthood or through the tension of gathering divorce will equally understand the images she evokes of adolescence and the death throes of love.
—Litchfield County Times




Qualities of Light by Mary Carroll Moore

Nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award



New Edition 2021

An early summer morning, a forbidden boat ride.  An accident that puts Molly's seven-year-old brother in a coma.  And Molly's life plummets out of orbit.

Steeped in self-blame, Molly reaches out to her parents. But they occupy their own elliptical orbits, grief-stricken, distant, estranged from Molly and from each other. Into Molly's anguish intrudes Chad, whose awkward courtship meets her even more awkward responseoe, at seventeen a year older than Molly and seemingly light years ahead in the frankness of her interest and the boldness of her pursuit.

Qualities of Light explores the budding of unexpected romance in the face of family tragedy, the forging of a new relationship between a daughter and her parents, and an adolescent's confrontation with her own qualities of light and darkness.


The deeply humane and unforgettable story unfolding in Qualities of Light is a tenderly wonderfully realized work of art.  This beautiful novel deserves a place with our permenant literature.

                                             —Katherine V. Forrest, author of Curious Wine

In a wilderness that mirrors her intense interior life, the fierce and talented young artist, Molly Fisher, comes of age, revealing her heart to the reader in unforgettably intimate and authentic ways.  A story that will both haunt and comfort.

                                   --Rachel Moulton, author of Tinfoil Butterfly


How many writers have caught that lightning-in-a-bottle that is young love? And made it glow with all the sweetness, sweat, and anguished joy that characterize it? Very few, I venture to guess, but here's one to add to the list and love. In prose both elegant and spare, but never without compassion, Mary Carroll Moore limns a romance between two eager, bright, and thoughtful teenaged girls. One is beautiful, confident, and athletic; the other is artistically gifted, a skilled observer of family and friends. But both are tangled in family problems beyond their powers to solve. Zoe, the athlete, lives with her sot of a father, having been unwillingly relinquished by her lesbian mother when another lover drew her away. Molly, the artist, takes on heavy guilt for an accident that almost killed her beloved little brother and struggles with the sad prospect of her parents' possible divorce. Moore never sentimentalizes these problems, but neither does she let the girls lose hope. On the contrary, as their love unfolds, it becomes their fortress. The story, set in lush summer in the Adirondacks, suffuses the young lovers with those qualities of light that illuminate the water, the woods, and the human heart. Indeed, she provides a bounty for all the senses, as we catch the scent of pines and warm muffins, we hear the splash of waves under water skis, we feel the slip of trembling hands over oiled bodies. We are transported back to that perilous passage, so well remembered, through adolescence and first love. This is a tender and lively coming-of-age tale told with delicate insight. Mary Carroll Moore has given us a romance etched in moonlight—the one we all wish we had had in our seventeenth summer.

—Ann Bannon, author of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles

A heroine any reader will remember long after the last page is read.

—Lori L. Lake, author of Snow Moon Rising

The writing felt like a painting. Strong, realistic characters and good plot. It's a wonderful book.

—C.P. Rowlands, author of Collision Course