Valley of the Moon
By Melanie Gideon
An utterly original, thoughtful and deeply compelling novel for readers who loved The Time Traveler’s Wife.Tweet
Discussed by Penistone Library Readers’ Group on 25th September 2017
10 members were present for the discussion, and opinions, as always, were mixed. Some really enjoyed it, others felt it was too predictable and light.
We felt it was a tale of parallel universes and relationships. The other universe was entered by Lux going through the fog, and her relationships with the other characters of the book are built and developed by her experiences there. She uses the earlier universe almost as a holiday away from her “real” life, doing things there which she enjoys but never has time for in “real” time.
We felt that she built her characters well and their interactions drive the plot rather than events.
However, some of us felt the book was predictable and they found it boring, saying it took a long time to get going!
We also take issue with the blurb on the cover which calls it “An utterly original……….novel”----when in the notes at the end the author clearly says her inspiration was Brigadoon, going on to sketch the plot which, reversing sexes, is basically the same as that of Valley of the Moon – the title itself the name of a Jack London novel quoted as “one of my best and inspirational sources”. Hardly original.
But on the whole we enjoyed it for what it was, a romantic, character driven story with a touch of fantasy.
Valley of the Moon is the story of a struggling young single mother, Lux, who works in San Francisco as a waitress. When her son Benno is 5 years old he spends a two week vacation with his grandparents in Rhode Island. Lux takes this opportunity to go camping alone and on waking during her first night finds her tent enveloped by a dense fog. Seeing a bright light in the distance she pushes through the fog and stumbles upon a community of farmers.
Lux re-visits the community time after time, at full moon, drawn back by the simplicity of their lives and sense of community and belonging she finds there.
There were mixed feelings about this book from members of our group and ratings (out of 10) ranged from as low as 1 to a high 8. We all agreed it was an easy read, well written and enjoyable if taken at face value, but some of our members felt that the love story element of the book was rather contrived and the time travel mechanics a little confusing.
The book would however appeal to anyone looking for a temporary escape to a much simpler place and time!