Valley of the Moon

Valley of the MoonValley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon
Published by Ballantine Books on July 26th 2016
Pages: 416
ISBN: 0345539281
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Received from the Publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, I thought this book was terrific!

Lux is a single Mother struggling to raise her 5 year old son whose father died in the Viet Nam war. They are living in San Francisco in the 70’s. She has contact with her parents but her father is not too thrilled that she had a child out of wedlock. They (Lux and her father) have had a strained relationship for years stemming from her last trip to the lake with him as a teenager. She finally agrees that her son can visit her Mother on the east coast (her Father is supposed to be away at the family lake cabin) and decides that she will go camping by herself while her son is with his Grandmother.

Joseph, is living with his wife and sister in his self made community where everyone helps out and has a part to play. The year is 1906. It is named after a plum tree plant that his Mother loved. One day an earthquake strikes and a fog circles the town. A fog that no one can enter or leave without dire consequences. The suddenly one day, a young woman walks through the fog and into their community. That young woman is Lux. It soon becomes clear to everyone that she is from a different time and is confronted with the knowledge that she is no longer in her present day.

Thus begins this very unique and very compelling story. A story of two times. A woman who is torn between felling like she fits in more in the past but needing to stay in the present because of her son, Benno. Lux continues to travel to the past while her roommate and friend, Rhonda babysits Benno. She is drawn to these kind loving people and feels a real sense of community. She loves working hard with them and loves getting to know them. They in turn are also taken in by her.

During one visit, one of the people from the past falls deathly ill. Lux decides to stay with her friend and when she returns sees that time has gone on…it has really gone on and she has been missing for a full year. What has happened to her job? What about Benno? Her family? Her friends? No on e has seen her in a year. Her life is forever changed by going into the past. Some for the good. Some for the bad.

I wont tell anymore of the plot. What I can tell you is that this book became a silent page turner for me. All of the characters are likable. They are richly drawn and I was drawn to them. These are characters to root for. I cared about their welfare and what would happen to them.

This book is about so many things. For me it was about choices. The choices we make and their consequences. The choice to break a parents rule, the choice to be an outspoken woman living in a time when women had no rights (i.e. Joseph’s Mother), the choice to stay with an ill friend, the choice to take a chance, the choice to stay, the choice to love again, the choice to take a chance on yourself, etc.

This book is also about love. People fall in love, People make choices based on that love. There is the love of friendship, the love of parent and child, love of a friend, love of a spouse, love of nature, etc. What I loved was how unique this story is. The description tells us if you loved “The Time Traveler’s Wife” one will like this book. I think that is a very true statement.

I found this book to be thought provoking. I found myself thinking about this book at 2 a.m. when I could not sleep. I really liked the story. I loved the characters. I think reading should be a delight. I find such enjoyment in reading a good book. I can honestly say that I did enjoy reading this one. I highly recommend it.


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