The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

THE MOON SISTERS - A Novel By Therese Walsh

The Moon Sisters by Therese WalshPublisher:  Crown
Release Date:  March 4, 2014
Pages:  336
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Book Description:  A beautiful coming-of-age novel about two sisters on a journey to forgive their troubled mother, with a sheen of almost-magical realism that overlays a story about the love of a family, and especially between sisters.

Therese Walsh's poignant and mesmerizing novel is a moving tale of family, love, and the power of stories. After their mother's probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz are figuring out how to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia, who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights, is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother's unfinished novel to say her final goodbyes and lay their mother's spirit to rest.

Though they see things very differently, Jazz is forced by her sense of duty to help Olivia reach her goal. Bitter and frustrated by the attention heaped on her sunny sister whose world is so unique, Jazz is even more upset when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper. Though Hobbs warns Olivia that he's a thief who shouldn't be trusted, he agrees to help with their journey. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, and they will finally be forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.

Wanda's Thoughts - The coming of age novel begins with a tragic change for two sisters, Jazz and Olivia. Their mother is found dead in the kitchen with the gas turned on and the pilot light off. 

Olivia, the younger sister, impulsively tosses her mother’s ashes in a suitcase and goes off to find a ghost light, or will-o’-the-wisps, lights that appear over bogs and swamplands. Some say they are spirits or lost souls trying to find their missing parts. Their mother had talked a lot about them over the years, in relation to the book she was writing. And the story unfolds as Olivia is off to Cranberry Glades in search of the ghost lights and her sister, Jazz, tries to convince her that it will serve no purpose, and goes after her to protect her. The trip takes them through a myriad of obstacles as these two sisters struggle to find themselves and each other. 

Twenty two year old Jazz was tired of being her sister’s keeper and was very often filled with anger. She finally found a job at a funeral home, but now she has to put it on hold. Her family members had many quirks that weren’t easily swept under the rug. It was a strange family. 

Olivia, a complex character, was a dreamer. She is legally blind and has a neurological condition called Synesthesia. She has the ability to taste words and see sounds. Olivia follows her impulses, regardless of sense. 

Hobbs is a train-hopper they meet along the way. He is a mysterious man covered with tattoos and has trouble written all over his face. Hobbs told Olivia early on that he wasn’t to be trusted, but Olivia becomes drawn to him. Jazz looked at Hobbs and Olivia and thought they were strangely alike – both wild as the wind. 

The story has themes of grief, guilt, secrets, and regrets. The captivating and complex characters are well drawn. The author really gets into the hearts and minds of the sisters and tension builds as memories surface. There are a lot of twists and turns along the way with an ending that I wasn’t expecting. The Moon Sisters is a touching story that is beautifully written. My rating is 4/5 stars. 

Therese WalshThe Author - Therese Walsh - Therese's debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, was published in 2009 by Shaye Areheart books (Random House). Her second novel, The Moon Sisters, will be published by Crown (Penguin Random House) in March 2014.

Therese is the co-founder of Writer Unboxed, a blog for writers about the craft and business of fiction. Before turning to novels, she was a researcher and writer for Prevention magazine, and then a freelance writer. She’s had hundreds of articles on nutrition and fitness published in consumer magazines and online.

She has a master's degree in psychology.

Aside from writing, Therese’s favorite things include music, art, crab legs, Whose Line is it Anyway?, dark chocolate, photography, unique movies and novels, people watching, strong Irish tea, and spending time with her husband, two kids and their bouncy Jack Russell.