The Moon In The Mango Tree

The Moon In The Mango Tree

by Pamela Binnings Ewen

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Overview

Can she have it all--or does she have to choose?

And when you choose between two things you love

Must one be forever lose?

It is the dazzling decade, the 1920’s, and a beautiful young singer is torn between her fierce desire for independence--to create something of her own, for meaning and purpose--and a deep abiding love for her husband, a medical missionary who will become royal physician to the court of Siam. Based on a true story, one young woman will travel from Philadelphia of the Roaring Twenties to the jungles of the Orient, to pre-war Paris and Rome, in the struggle to find her place in the world.

WINNER OF THE EUDORA WELTY AWARD FOR FICTION

National League of American Pen Women

“This rich, enveloping novel draws the reader in and won’t let go. For an all too brief time readers will find themselves living in another time, another place. Like Harvey’s healing medicine, Barbara’s inspiring music, this fiction is a kind of gift as well.” Susan Larson. Book Editor, New Orleans Times Picayune.

“…deeply moving…” Romantic Times - Four Stars

“Rich and heartfelt…” Publishers Weekly

“You will have to read this one to see just how far one sometimes has to go to discover what it really is that they want in life, what will make them feel complete. A MUST READ!” --Beyond Her Book Blog--PublishersWeekly.com.

“A thought provoking enjoyable story, difficult to put down.  Highly recommended.”  Editor’s Choice: Historical Novels Review. Historical Novel Society.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940152857986
Publisher: Pamela Ewen
Publication date: 03/21/2016
Sold by: Draft2Digital
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 891,329
File size: 611 KB

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The Moon in the Mango Tree 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
JGwinn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Moon in the Mango Tree is a fabulous story of love and sacrifice in the Roaring Twenties. As a modern woman, it is difficult for me to understand the conflict the main character feels about following her dream to sing opera and her love for her husband. But Ewen tells the story beautifully. You can feel Barbara's heavy heart as she struggles between duty and adventure, between love and sacrifice. Ewen describes the country of Siam with rich details of the local culture and of the missionary and it's missionaries. Add to it that this is based on the true story of the author's grandmother and the story really does come alive.
kiwifortyniner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story that I enjoyed. It is based on the life of the author's grandmother. in the 20s and 30s. It tells of the marriage of Harvey and Babs. Babs wants to be a singer and her chance has arrived to go places when her husband, a doctor, accepts a position as a missionary doctor in Thailand (Siam). Babs is thinking of Bangkok when she reluctantly agrees to go but they are sent to a remote community in the far north of Thailand. Babs struggles there amongst the very conservative missionarys. Her husband thrives on it and Babs feels that even though she loves him he does not need her and she sees no role for herself in this community. The time comes when she cannot stand it any more. She has to get out and find her place and a purpose in life. She goes to Europe with her two daughters. There she is given the chance to learn singing as she wished to earlier, but the time comes when she again has to make a choice. Can she have it all? When she chooses one of two things does that mean the other is lost for ever? Will she in the end find a purpose and a place in the world? I won't give the end away. This is an issue that spans time and is still relevant today when compromises have to be made in a marriage when the two parties goals and ambitions do not sit comfortably together.It was beautifully written, some great descriptive packages. It gave a reall feel for what life would have been like in Thailand (Siam) at that time
drsyko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked, but didn't love, this book. It has a certain dreamy charm that pulls the reader along at a leisurely pace. The story is set in the 1920's and is about a starry eyed young singer, Barbara, who falls in love with an intense, earnest young physician, Harvey. He wants to go be a missionary doctor, and she is sort of sucked along for the ride. Barbara loves Harvey, but other than that she has only a vague notion of what else she loves or wants out of her life. She and Harvey have many adventures in Siam, where they are posted with some rather stereotypical missionaries. Eventually Barbara tires of this life and decides to see if she can revive the singing career she left behind to follow Harvey into the jungle. The book is divided into two parts--the missionary years and those years when Barbara has left Harvey behind to follow her dream. It's not your every day story, and parts of it are quite engrossing. Barbara is in some ways hard to like because she seems shallow and self-obsessed, but there is still something endearing about her. Harvey is truly just as self-obsessed, but then that has always been more acceptable for men. Together they make an interesting couple, but the author fails to really flesh out either of them fully, and it is never really clear what brought them together in the first place as there seems to be very little passion between them, nor do they seem to understand each other very well. Still, their story is interesting and set in exotic locations that help to fuel the story telling. The book is quite long, and the pace lags at times, but over all reading this book was a pleasant experience.
Katie_H on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in the Roaring Twenties, this tells the tale of the author's grandmother, a talented young singer, Barbara, who falls in love with a handsome physician, Harvey. Following their marriage, Harvey decides that they should become missionaries in Thailand (then called Siam). This decision ultimately means that Barbara must give up her dreams of singing professionally. While dealing with the hardship and loneliness of missionary life, Barbara continues to struggle with her unresolved singing aspirations. The greatest strength of the story is the rich and vivid geographical descriptions. I feel more enticed to travel to the area after having read the book. The book was readable, and I did not find it to be boring, but the character development wasn't fantastic. The choices that Barbara saw for herself were black and white, in a situation that clearly had many shades of gray, and it was difficult for me to relate to her. She came across as shallow and selfish, and the relationships she had with her husband and children were empty. Then to the question of Christian literature. I generallly don't read novels that are defined this way (even though I call myself a Christian), and I'm unsure if this book really fits my definition of the genre. Yes, it is "wholesome" - sex, even between married couples, is only hinted at and no vulgar words are used. On the other hand, the novel did not really address issues from a specifically Christian point of view.
rainbowdarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was actually a disappointment. From the start, the writing style was difficult. I seemed forced, contrived. I kept reading, thinking that maybe I¿d get used to it. I never did, unfortunately. The book was full of vivid imagery which painted beautiful environments. It did not do a lot by way of a plot, though. An afterword explained that the story was based on real events shared by the author¿s grandmother. The author admitted that some of the story had been fictionalized, which, one would hope, would have made the story more engaging, more cohesive. The story is of Barbara, young suffragette and wannabe opera singer who seems to get ¿swept up¿ in a life that she hasn¿t asked for. At no point does this woman who claims to be for the equality of men and women stand up to say ¿This isn¿t what I want.¿ to her husband at first. She goes to a place for which she is completely unprepared. I found that a bit strange for someone so over-the-moon about her chance for the Chicago Opera, someone who believes she has a chance to make her dreams come true to just let it go by the wayside. It seemed out of character. Actually, the picture that¿s painted at the beginning of the book about the character doesn¿t jive with the character that¿s presented in the rest of the book. The beginning shows a self-confident young woman, blooming into adulthood who has the world at her feet, who believes that she has tremendous opportunities to do great things. The rest of the book involves a milktoast young woman who doesn¿t seem to know where she is or what she¿s about, who is confused, disoriented, and seems perpetually lost. I found her woe-is-me attitude somewhat trying, particularly as she dragged her husband away from things that he cared about because she really didn¿t seem willing to try to adapt to the situation, even after several years. Really, this should be an inspirational story, but it turns out to be a trying account of a selfish and uncertain young woman, interested in fun and frolic, and who doesn¿t seem to understand the magnitude of the work that her husband does and could be doing. Everything that happens in their lives becomes a tug of war; it¿s either all what he wants because she gives in entirely, or all what she wants because she¿s finally made a demand and he acquiesces. I regret to say that this book, which I had been so excited to read, turned out to be a major disappointment. The style never grew on me and the character failed to connect, failing to make me feel sympathetic to her plights. The imagery was probably the best part of the book, but if I wanted only images, I would read a picture book. I can¿t recommend this book for anyone who likes cohesive story, actual plot and sympathetic characters.
takemeaway9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen is historical 1920's story about a young married couple who travel to Siam (what is today Thailand) so the husband can work as a medical missionary. The wife is a singer who was about to join the opera, but leaves her dreams behind to follow her husband and be a good wife. She struggles with having to choose between following her dreams and being a supportive wife. She also doesn't fit in well with the husband's Christian mission group and finds herself questioning their purpose in Thailand.This is fiction based on the true events in the life of the author's grandmother. The characters were realistic and I felt for the main character "Babs". I was drawn into the life they lived. My only criticism would be that it was a little long. It really wasn't even that there were long drawn out passages, because there wasn't anything that I got bored with reading, but there were scenese that weren't important either. I was happy with the way the book ended and happy I had the chance to read about this era and experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those of you who don't know, the purpose of a book review is to share your opinion of whether you would recommend a book to someone else. Please do not provide a summary and tell us what happens at the end. Don't ruin it for those of us who wanted to read it. Also, 'brevity is the soul of wit.'
Deborah_K More than 1 year ago
One of my most favorite movie musicals of all time is The King and I. The remake, Anna and the King starring Jodie Foster and ChowYun Fat, is equally stunning and beautiful. These movies gave an insight to Siamese culture. Thailand was the only Southeast Asian country to never fall to European colonization. Yet missionaries flocked to the country to help to westernize and bring Christianity to the people. This book joins that list to aiding to help give an insider's look at the country. There were several female characters in this story that really irked my gut. I just hate how women always manage to find someone to put each other down, even when they are supposed to be uplifting in a dire situation. I felt so sorry for Barbara after the way she was treated especially when she had done absolutely nothing wrong. It's just sad how missionary life can make people bitter because they soon realize they cannot change the world by themselves. I disliked Harvey at first. He seemed to act like the stereotype of most men who are more career driven than family minded. I was actually quite impressed with Barbara's decision. It was very modern of her to do what she did which her suffragette background helped to influence. I thought the story was extremely well written. I really felt like I had traveled back to the 1920s with the excellent description of the time period. This is a wonderful armchair traveler as the reader becomes immersed in the Thai and European cultures. This story also has special meaning to meaning to me as my father's family is from neighboring Burma. Therefore many of the unique traditions mentioned in the story are shared by my cultural background as well. If there's a historical fiction book you read this year, it needs to be this one. HIGHLY recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not long after WWI ended, Barbara is forced to forget her dreams of being an opera diva when she marries Dr. Harvey Perkins, who informs his new bride that he is giving up his practice to serve as a medical missionary in Siam. He offers her a platitude that she will be able to sing once they settle in Siam. Frightened as she is a comfortable Christian and not a missionary, Babs objects to their relocation as she prefers they move to Chicago where the local opera has offered her a performing role. However, he rules as the husband and they head to Siam.------------------ However, not long after arrival in rural Nan, Babs is unable to adjust to the abject poverty she witnesses or the conditions of their lifestyle. Harvey is appalled with his spouse¿s failure and irate with her weakness when she suffers a nervous breakdown. Still they return to the States for her to heal, but fanatical Harvey forces them to return to his Siam practice soonest.-------------------- THE MOON IN THE MANGO TREE is a terific historical tale that allows the audience too look deeply at the role of women in society. Fascinatingly Harvey cares and loves his spouse, but is disappointed in her failure to adjust her ambition and goals are irreleverant. Babs wants to adapt as she accepts that is her position in life, but resents giving up her goals and cannot cope with what she has seen in Siam. Although the description of time and place is extremely vivid enabling the reader to feel they are in America and Siam circa 1920s that also slows down the pace of an otherwise strong early twentieth century relationship drama.--------------- Harriet Klausner