Customer Reviews for

The Moon Sisters: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Therese Walsh has crafted a engaging and beautiful story in The

Therese Walsh has crafted a engaging and beautiful story in The Moon Sisters. She has such a lovely way with words and characters. I honestly couldn't put this book down. This is the way of great storytelling. Buy this book! I promise you will not regret it!

posted by Krteilman on May 18, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

This book is about two polar opposite sisters coming to terms wi

This book is about two polar opposite sisters coming to terms with their mother's suicide in different ways. When younger, half-blind Olivia's unpredictable antics pressure her older and more stable sister Jazz to follow her around on a fool's errand, the two are forced...
This book is about two polar opposite sisters coming to terms with their mother's suicide in different ways. When younger, half-blind Olivia's unpredictable antics pressure her older and more stable sister Jazz to follow her around on a fool's errand, the two are forced to confront their feelings about their mother's death and each other.




Honestly, I was so bored with this book. The pace is very slow, I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters or places, and the plot didn't interest me. Nothing resonates.




The story is told in alternating POVs; most of the chapters begin with one of the sister's recollections about their past, and additionally there are old letters from the mother Beth. This is intended to let you get to know the characters better, but after a couple of chapters I felt like I'd learned all that I needed and these recollections were neither necessary nor interesting. They interrupted the flow of what was already a lacking story for me.




I was also expecting more magical realism. The most magical thing about the story is the fact that Olivia has synesthesia and sees, tastes, smells all kinds of strange things.




"Moon Sisters" is a well written but extremely dry coming of age story.

posted by Anonymous on August 11, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    Recommend to anyone who needs cheering up. I really enjoyed it.

    Triplets , three different personalities.and all make this a funny, enjoyable read Therese Walsh does a great job and I will be looking for more of her books .

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Olivia and Jazz are adult sisters, still living at home with the

    Olivia and Jazz are adult sisters, still living at home with their parents. One day, Olivia comes home to find that her mother is dead. The question that will haunt the sisters is whether their mother died accidentally or whether she committed suicide. The gas on the stove was on, the pilot light out, the windows and doors closed.
    Their father is lost in his grief, unable to help his daughters through theirs. Their father's mother, Babka, owns a bakery, where their dad works. Olivia has synesthesia, which is defined as "the stimulation of a sense other than the one receiving input; sensory areas with faulty wiring." She could smell sights- "Papa was fresh grass, the sun was Mama"-, and taste words- Mama's freckles "tasted like togetherness".  She could see sounds- "Babka's voice looked like a tumble of soft flour."
    Olivia feels guilty that her mother died while she was off with a young man. Olivia had been home schooled by her mother, and they spent much of their time together. She felt like she should have seen that her mother was depressed.
    And so Olivia gets it into her head that she should take her mother's ashes and scatter them in a bog where her mother had set a novel she was working on at the time of her death. The truth was, her mother had been working on this book for a very long time, but never made much progress.
    As Olivia was legally blind (she looked into the sun too long and it blinded her), she couldn't drive to the bog to scatter the ashes. Jazz, who was set to start a new job at the funeral home where her mother had her services, felt forced to follow Olivia and take her to the bog.
    Their car breaks down, and Olivia ends up with a group of train hoppers on a train, not knowing that Jazz has also hopped the train looking for her. Olivia falls for one of the hoppers, Hobbs, a mysterious man with markings all over his face and another man on his tail.
    There are magical elements to this story, and some ghost stories, which I did not know are ubiquitous in West Virginia, where the story takes place. Along with the questions surrounding Mama's death, we have the mystery of why Hobbs is being followed by Red, a man who appears to be a bounty hunter.
    The story is told alternately by Olivia and Jazz, and interspersed in the story are letters written by Mama to her father, a man who disowned his daughter and cut off all contact with her. Her letters are heartbreaking, and we get to know Beth (Mama) through these letters, as well as through Olivia and Jazz.
    The sisterly relationship is the heart of the book, and Walsh really nails it. The sibling rivalry, the way they fight with and protect each other and argue and love each other will feel so real to anyone who has a sister. 
    The writing is poetic, and I loved what Babka told Olivia when Olivia told her about a dream she had- "Dreams like feet better than knees". What a fantastic thing to say, and it comes up more than once in this magical, haunting novel.
    Another line I liked was said about Hobbs by one of the female train hoppers- "Too bad his walls are so high up, and I'm such a lazy climber." You get the character of Hobbs right away from just that one line.  
    But what Mama said really puts the point on this book: "All of life's twist and turns might be analyzed at some later date, shown to be necessary in order to arrive at some other point in the future- a point that would end up being important in a life." She believed that fate would put you wherever you needed to be.
    There are some real twist and turns in the story that will knock the breath out you as you read them, and I did not see one big one coming that just made me sob. Walsh puts you through the ringer and it is an emotional ride well worth taking.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2014

    Heartfelt Story of Love and Acceptance

    Moon Sisters follows the journey of two sisters in the aftermath of their mother's suicide, each dealing with guilt but in two very different ways.

    It is a heartfelt story of family and acceptance, focusing on the complexity of the relationship between the two sisters.

    - Jennifer McArdle, Author of Water's Edge

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2014

    Great book

    The characters are memorable, plot moves along, very well written.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    How to put my thoughts on  page- that is the question. The Moon

    How to put my thoughts on  page- that is the question. The Moon Sisters was mesmerizing, as promised. It pulled me in quickly, then held on for the duration. Not typically a novel I would be drawn too, I was surprised that it had such a strong grip on me. Jazz and Olivia are bold and multifaceted characters. Walsh created two beautiful souls with those two girls. It has been ages since I read a book with such gorgeously strong female characters. The stunning character work didn't end there- Hobbs, a train hopper that helps the girls on their journey, was also a complex character. Rough and scary exterior with a soft heart and a deep history.
    The central part of this story is their mother, but it expands to family as the tale moves forward. Family dynamics, responsibilities, and loyalty all spring up throughout this novel. Each is enhanced by the depth of character in the novel. The five stages of grief are the section headings in The Moon Sisters- they are the only times that they are so pointedly brought up, however each stage is woven in the stories the characters tell. The subtle shifts in the way they share their stories and move through the days that this novel takes place, move them through the stages of grief and through the story.
    The adventure that the girls find themselves on- looking for hope and guidance- is remarkable. It brings out so much in their character and you can feel the girls growing as the story ebbs and flows. It makes Olivia grow up and it softens Jazz. Hobbs finds answers to his own unasked questions as well.
    I was amazed at how lyrical this novel was as well. It was magical. The novel deals with grief. I have had a very small share of grief, thankfully, at this point in my life, so I was unsure as to whether or not I would find a connection with this novel. Somewhere, I did. I'm not sure if it was Jazz and her softening, or Olivia and her growing up, but within those pages I did see a bit of myself in years past. Therese Walsh wrote a book that speaks to you- whether or not you've experienced monumental grief. I highly recommend this novel.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Set in small town/rural West Virginia, sisters Olivia and Jazz M

    Set in small town/rural West Virginia, sisters Olivia and Jazz Moon journey in search of a will o' the wisp, and
    perhaps, answers to their mother's apparent suicide.

    Disclaimer #1: I received a free copy of this novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Disclaimer #2:
    I "know" the author, via FaceBook, and through participation in the WriterUnboxed group there, and on the WU
    main website.

    Like a will o' the wisp, this novel is hard to pin down. There are many enchanting themes and ideas here: Olivia's
    synethesia, a condition in which the senses blend, so that sounds are also seen, sights are also tasted, and so
    on. There's the writer's journey/struggle, experienced through memories and letters left by their mother, Beth,
    who seemed to also be dealing with Depression and deep hurt from her own family of origin. There's disability,
    because Olivia has deliberately damaged her eyesight and so is legally blind, partially sighted. There's dealing
    with grief and self-blame in the wake of Beth's death; there's train-hopping and a bit of romance, a tattooed man
    and a bounty hunter, an unfinished fairy tale, a scenic tour of West Virginia and the bogs...

    Much of this novel I loved. The descriptions in Olivia's voice were especially lyrical and lovely: "There was a sort o
    f comfort to having him nearby, this green-eyed boy with a voice that curved like a hammock, that made me want
    to crawl right into it and lie down."

    However, the pacing felt slow, despite an ostensibly ticking clock in the form of a job that Jazz had to get back to
    (which I never really understood her compulsion to take that particular job, at that time), and I didn't feel I KNEW
    Jazz as well as I knew Olivia, or even Beth, the dead mother.

    There IS some sex, but not often, and it's not particularly explicit or erotic. The level of (non)detail here works well
    with the language and style of this novel.

    The last 20% or so was much faster paced and kept me turning pages, much of it being a surprise and yet
    well-set up, so that the ending felt very satisfying. I love when books do that. All in all, a very GoodRead. :)

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2014

    Moving Story about 2 sisters looking for answers about themselve

    Moving Story about 2 sisters looking for answers about themselves and their family!

    4.25 STARS

    MY THOUGHTS

    This is the story of two sisters. Two very different sisters. Jazz is 22 and the only 'normal' person in her family. Olivia is 18 and a dreamer. She has 'Synesthesia' - she can see and smell and taste colors and sounds and people...

    After their mother died - everybody thinks it was suicide - Olivia wants to take her ashes to the Cranberry bogs to see the ghost-lights. That's where her mother's unfinished novel was set. But her mother never went to see the place. She rarely went out of the house at all.

    Their dad and grandma 'force' Jazz to drive Olivia to the Bogs - Olivia is legally blind - she lost her central vision after staring at the sun too long after her mother died. Because to her - her mother had always smelled like sunshine.

    When the car brakes down and Jazz is trying to get the mechanic to fix it - Olivia runs off and jumps on a train - where she meets Hobbs. A tattooed train-hopper who tells her she shouldn't trust him because he's a stranger on a train and a thief. But she convinces him to help her find the ghost-lights.

    Jazz joins them in the end and go to find the ghost-lights.

    Between the chapters - which are alternately written from both girls' POV - we read letters from their mom to their grandpa. Who disowned her when she got pregnant with Jazz.

    And we also learn a lot about their life at home - life with their mom.

    Will they eventually get to the Bogs and see the lights? Will there be a happy end?

    >>>> I'm not telling you, of course ¿

    I don't want to spoil your reading pleasure ¿
    ______________________________________

    I really enjoyed reading the book. It was interesting.

    Not my kind of book unfortunately. I prefer those fast-reading simple romances where you don't have to think too much ¿

    This was a lot deeper. Lots of pain and regret and love and hope and dreams.

    Jazz tries to be there for her sister - because her mother would expect it of her. Olivia just wants to see the ghost lights - she wants so much more - but that was too deep for me probably ¿ I couldn't really force myself to think too much about the book. I read it - raced through some parts I have to admit. And once I was finished - that was it.

    BUT - I also have to admit that I cried a bit ¿

    It's a really wonderfully written novel about 2 girls that need some kind of closure - because their mother was a very sad and depressed woman...

    After her death the family kind of fell apart - Dad started drinking - Olivia stared into the sun and is halfblind now. And I think this little trip is helping those 2 sisters to heal and to find themselves and each other again.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Really enjoyed this!

    I really enjoyed this book. I don't want to give any plot spoilers away but it kept my interest throughout. And I found myself recommending it to friends.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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