VALLEY OF THE MOON
by Melanie Gideon
In this captivating novel from the author of Wife 22, a woman who feels lost in her own time stumbles across a California community that has, impossibly, been marooned in the early twentieth century perfect for readers of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Time and Again, and Sarah Addison Allen.
Lux is a single mom struggling to make her way when she discovers an idyllic community in the Sonoma Valley. It seems like a place from another time until she realizes it actually is. Lux must keep one foot in her world, raising her son as well as she can with the odds stacked against her, but every day she is more strongly drawn in by the sweet simplicity of life in Greengage, and by the irresistible connection she feels with a man born decades before her. Soon she finds herself torn between her ties to the modern world, her adored son and the first place she has ever felt truly at home.
She spoke as if she were standing on the roof of a building in which somebody had forgotten to build the stairs.
It’s odd, isn’t it? … How quickly something unbelievable becomes believable.
The door to a long-abandoned room inside me that I hadn’t even known existed until this minute began to open. Sweet, fresh air poured in.
It’s a balancing act now, you understand? It’s the hardest thing about being a parent. Holding on and letting go simultaneously.
You, Lux, are possibility… You are all the doors opening at once.
This was how great change happened. Suddenly and all at once – fate jumped the tracks. An airplane flew into a building. A cough was diagnosed as stage four cancer. A fertilized egg embedded itself in a womb. All of us lived on fault lines. We just pretended we didn’t.
I rarely dabble with the paranormal genre but something in the synopsis caught my eye when the book was first mentioned to me. I want to send the person who recommended this tale an expensive gift, as I truly adored this exceptionally well-written and captivating work. I was quickly drawn in by the high quality of the writing and the moving and emotive storyline. It was highly imaginative, enchanting, heart-squeezing, and full of feels. The author did a splendid job of capturing the emotions, frustrations and thought patterns of each character at each age and emotional period of their lives. And the characters, I loved them! They were unique and quirky, well-drawn, complicated, endearingly flawed, knowable, lovable. I was enchanted.
The writing was smartly done, well-detailed, atmospheric, clever, thoughtful, and thoroughly fathomed my emotions. I had to stop and consider how I would personally struggle to explain 70 years of history… what events would I attempt to impart to an innocent and eager audience in the early 1900s? What dates, facts, trends would I remember and attempt to explain? Would I want to burden them or twist their minds with the horrors of war, or the unexplainable madness and atrocities allowed to occur with little restraint such as Hitler, 9-11, HIV/AIDS, Watergate, Timothy McVeigh, Joseph McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover? The story was highly creative and just ingenious, complex yet easy to follow, imaginative, highly entertaining, and well crafted. I am stunned by my reaction to a genre I typically avoid, and even a day later find that I am still contemplating and in awe of the author’s deft handling and skills. Ms. Gideon is the latest addition to my list of talented authors to fangirl.
About the Author
Melanie Gideon is the author of the memoir The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After, an NPR and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2009, and a New York Times bestseller, as well as three young adult novels. Her latest novel, Wife 22, will be translated into 26 languages and is currently in development with Working Title Films. She has written for the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, More, Shape, Marie Claire, theLondon Times, the Daily Mail and other publications. She was born and raised in Rhode Island and now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son. Wife 22 is her first novel for adults.