Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My review of Cassandra King's Moonrise

Cassandra King ably creates a mysterious mood in her novel Moonrise, named for an estate and its moon garden in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Emmet and his new wife Helen spend the summer at Moonrise, the family home of Emmet’s late wife, Rosalyn. That Rosalyn had died under mysterious circumstances and that Emmet had married Helen so soon afterward are difficult for six lifelong friends to accept. Their grief mixes with fearful suspicions and open hatred of the new wife to fuel the novel’s tensions.

Characters seem eager to think the worst of each other. And these characters are good friends—what gives? The reader never really knows the motives behind each person’s gossip, a mystery solved only at the end. I found the almost constant backbiting gossip tedious to read. The gossip is key to building suspense and moving the plot forward, so there’s no avoiding it. Still, Moonrise hooked me, and I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished it.

In my opinion, King created six strong, discrete characters, four of whom I found very likeable. The story is told in the voices of three of the characters. It is said to pay homage to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, which I have not read, but if you have, perhaps this comparison is meaningful to you. Also, if you’re a gardener, the concept of a moon garden is interesting.

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