Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Moon Sisters: Review and Giveaway

There's no time to lose, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams
And you will lose your mind.
~ Ruby Tuesday, The Rolling Stones

Did she or didn't she?  Did Beth Moon kill herself, or was it an accident?  This is one of the questions posed in a new novel set in the fictitious tiny town of Tramp, West Virginia, The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh, published last month.  After Beth's death, the family is grief-stricken.  Her husband, Branik, turns to alcohol, while the Moon sisters, Olivia and Jazz, struggle with their feelings about her death.  Olivia, the younger Moon sister, is a synesthete.  She wants to believe that her mother's death was an accident, and to bring her mother's ashes to a cranberry bog.  She decides to go on the trip that her mother had wanted to take but never did, to a cranberry bog to see the ghost lights that may have inspired Mama to finish her book, A Foolish Fire.  Jazz, the older and more practical sister, wants mostly to start her new job, which would give her life a new routine.  But Jazz has always helped look after her sister, so against her better judgment, she follows Olivia, who has joined a tattooed guy called Hobbs and other train-hoppers, on a journey to the cranberry bog. 

Bad book blogger!  I've just read an uncorrected proof of The Moon Sisters, so I'm not supposed to quote from the book, but I'm including quotations from the book anyway, because this will give you examples of Therese Walsh's writing style and a taste of the book.  I've also taken the liberty of photographing a bit from the inside of the book.  (Please keep in mind that the final version of the book may be different.)

Many quotations from writers (and others) are sprinkled throughout the book.  One of my favorites, right at the beginning is:
"Action is the antidote to despair."
~ Joan Baez 

The first section in The Moon Sisters is called Ground Zero, The End of the Beginning, and it's written in the first person (as is the whole book), from Olivia's point of view.  After an ordinary Saturday morning in February, Olivia discovers that her mother is dead, in the kitchen.

"I was the one who found her later--not moving, not breathing, dead with her head on the kitchen table.  The gas on and the pilot light out, the windows and doors closed, sealing the room as tight as the envelope sitting beside her."
~ The Moon Sisters, Therese Walsh

Chapter One, The Foolish Fire of Olivia Moon, is written from Jazz's point of view.  Here, Jazz talks about Olivia's synesthesia and her sister's plan to go to the bog:

"My sister began staring at the sun after our mother died, because she swore it smelled like her.  For me, it would always be the scent of oven gas, since that's how Mama went--fumes pouring out, her breathing them in.  Like Sylvia Plath, my father said, because Mama was a tortured writer, too."
"My sister's reality had always been bizarre, though, with her ability to taste words and see sounds and smell a person on the sun.  So when she decided to toss our dead mother's ashes into a suitcase and go off to the setting of our dead mother's story to find a ghost light, I wasn't all that surprised.  She's never been the poster child for sense."
~ The Moon Sisters, Therese Walsh

Mama was not just a tortured writer.  She was estranged from her father, and very distraught over this.  She wrote letters to him about her life, asking for forgiveness, which are part of the novel, and which give Beth a voice as well in the book; we can understand her deep turmoil.  She was emotionally crippled by this alienation from her father, who she loved.

Reading The Moon Sisters made me think about the nature of hope, the audacity of hope.  In the book, Mama had dreams to finish writing her book.  She hoped that she would be reunited with her father.  And the Moon sisters--especially Olivia-- hope to help and understand their mother and her dream to succeed as a writer by making the trip to the cranberry bog.

Thanks to Crown Publishers, I have an extra copy of The Moon Sisters to give away to a reader (U.S. only).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment. 
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. 

Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, April 14.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, April 15.

Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me an advance copy of this spellbinding novel by Therese Walsh, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Writer Unboxed.  For more reviews and features, please visit the other stops on TLC's book tour for The Moon Sisters.


  1. I love how you said it made you think about "the audacity of hope". What a wonderful phrase! Also, the quotes you published (good for you!) do give us an indication of what's inside, necessary, I think, when we consider reading a book. I have this one from the publishers, not read yet as I'm so immersed in reading for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, but I do look forward to discovering it.

    As you did.

    1. Bellezza, the credit for the phrase "the audacity of hope" goes to President Barack Obama, of course. I look forward to reading your thoughts about The Moon Sisters. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. This intriguing novel sounds captivating. Thanks for this feature and your great review. I am an e-mail subscriber. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. This feature sound memorable and intriguing. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. You make this sound so good I should move it to the top of the pile. No need to enter me, I already have a copy.

  5. This sounds like a really good read! I hadn't heard of it before now but I definitely want to check it out after reading your review!

  6. Thank you for your time in reading and reviewing The Moon Sisters, Suko. You've done a beautiful job explaining the story, and I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.

    1. Therese, I appreciate your visit and comment. I felt compelled to highlight your incredible writing (without revealing too much), as well as a bit of the book's wonderful design. I know many readers will enjoy your new novel as much as I did. :)

  7. I've been reading raves about this book.twitter follower will tweet@rhondareads.

  8. It is not boring or unsophisticated to say that you loved the book Suko. You did explain why you did.

    Sounds like the characters are interesting. Troubled characters often are.

    I will also give you a little mischievous nod for quoting from the book. I would find it impossible to blog about a work and not quote from it.

    1. Brian Joseph, I am sometimes indecisive about whether or not to include quotations when I have uncorrected proofs. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

  9. This is on my to be read shelf, so I won't read your full review till I've finished it! It's nice to have a book that you really enjoy.
    Book Dilettante

  10. Thanks for your wonderful review Suko. I also loved your phrase, "the audacity of hope" and The Rolling Stones quote. Thanks for the giveaway. I am tweeting your post.

  11. Ooh a book about a synesthete.This along with those extracts and your glowing review make this a most read as far as I'm concerned.

  12. I've seen this one around Suko, and it sounds wonderful. Glad you loved it so much! It's not unsophisticated to say you loved it, your review glows.
    On another note, I'd never heard of synesthetes before. Interesting.
    Please enter me as well, thanks!

  13. Thanks for all the comments and tweets! :)

  14. This sounds really good and I don't think it's ever unsophisticated or boring to say you loved a book. I thought you did a great job with the review.

    I'm a follower through GFC: Yvonne
    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/Yvonne473/status/451697095913639937

  15. This sounds like a great read, certainly like it would provoke and make you consider some of the issues highlighted. Good luck everyone. I also follow on GFC so many books, so little time.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

  16. I think it is lovely to know that you loved the book. I often really like a book, but I don't find to many out there I can say I love this book. So often I find scenes I hate, even though I really liked the book. Hope that made sense! Whatever!

    That was a really nice review, and I really am glad you loved the book. Happy Reading.

  17. I've been curious about this book, so I'm glad to see you loved it. It sounds fantastic!

  18. Thanks for being a part of the tour for this fantastic book! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  19. I have heard lots of good things about this book. Thanks for the chance!

  20. Wow a powerful review and certainly captures the magic of THE MOON SISTERS for sure. I always use quotes from the stories I review and then make sure I do not use the page numbers and remind people that it was an unproofed copy or PDF draft.

    You have quite a following here and I am jealous :) of your great commentors. And thank you for being one of mine!

    I too loved this book and it was the perfect read for a rain stormy weekend.

  21. I really want to read this! It sounds like a book I would enjoy! Thank you for the review and the giveaway!

    I follow by email.

  22. https://twitter.com/CarolAnnM/status/453266491006124033

  23. This book is right at the top of my TBB(ought) list! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of "The Moon Sisters"! And I've found a new book blog as well.


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