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The Owl & Moon Cafe Paperback – July 3, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mapson takes a break from her Bad Girl Creek series with this touching novel that chronicles the lives of four generations of women living under one roof. When sociology professor Mariah Moon loses her job, she and her Carl Sagan–loving genius 12-year-old daughter, Lindsay, move into the apartment shared by Mariah's hippie mom, Allegra, and staunchly Catholic grandmother, Bess. All four pitch in to run the family restaurant downstairs, where Mariah locks eyes with the charming Fergus Applecross, who's set to leave their California town of Pacific Grove and return to Scotland in a few months. Mariah takes a chance on him, to Allegra's delight and Lindsay's consternation. Allegra, meanwhile, is diagnosed with leukemia, but rediscovers the long-lost love of her life at the doctor's office. Lindsay, watching her grandmother struggle with both her illness and trying to cover the cost of medication, concocts a science project that involves growing marijuana (for medicinal applications, of course). Initially, the characters are pulled straight from central casting, but after a slow start, they become as complex and fascinating as the situations they find themselves in. (July 4)
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From Booklist

Mapson has moved on from her beloved Bad Girl Creek trilogy but only so far as the nearby town of Pacific Grove, where she introduces readers to Bess, Allegra, Mariah, and Lindsay, four generations of Moon women who are "bad girls" in their own right. After eight years as a college sociology professor, Mariah finds herself suddenly out of a job, and there's nowhere else for her and her 12-year-old genius daughter, Lindsay, to go but home to the funky restaurant owned by her mother, Allegra, and grandmother, Bess. She hopes the move will be temporary, but when Allegra is diagnosed with leukemia, Mariah and Lindsay soon discover that the concept of permanence has taken on a whole new meaning. For Lindsay, the stress of her grandmother's illness, her mother's unemployment, and a high-stakes scholastic competition turn out to be more than her psyche and body can bear. With her trademark style of combining humor with heartache, Mapson again excels at building a community of strong, empathic women. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (July 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743266412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743266413
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jo-Ann Mapson (1952-) was born in So. California, now lives just outside Santa Fe, NM. Author of 12 novels, winner of the ALA RUSA award for Solomon's Oak, contemporary women's fiction, several Indie Bound selections, and anthologies. She teaches fiction in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her former students include Heather Lende, Judith Ryan Hendricks, and Earlene Fowler. Her papers are being collected in Boston University's Twentieth Century Jo-Ann Mapson's collection. She is married and has a grown son, several rescue Italian greyhounds, and is at work on a new novel. Her website is

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 100 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
I always cringe whenever someone says they or someone they know is a writer and would you mind reading something they wrote and letting me know what you thought of it because I think this person is a really great writer and I respect your opinion....

Oh God. Not another one.

The problem is that I can't lie. I've been hardwired (sometime during my early formation, no doubt) to spout the truth about a piece of literature and how I feel about it. This has led to some rather hard feelings by authors who expected me to put on my kids gloves when critiquing/reviewing their work.

So when the son of Jo-Ann Mapson handed me a copy of his mother's latest literary offering, I felt the critical hairs on the back of my neck rise. Oh no. Would I have to crush any friendship I might have with this man by telling him his mother was a hack writer? That her prose stunk? That she needed to take a course on plotting? I opened The Owl & Moon Café with a heavy sigh, plunged in and ...

...was immediately enthralled. I'll have to be honest and say part of the attraction was that The Owl & Moon Café takes place in my hometown of Pacific Grove, California. But I've read stories by other authors that take place here and was, shall we say, less than impressed. The thing that really struck me was that this novel is a women's book -- covering the lives of four generations of women within the Moon family -- but completely engrossed me (a guy) with its excellent plotting, perfect characters, and flowing prose.

The Owl & Moon Café is ground-zero for these women, starting with "Gammy", the widowed owner of the cafe and mother of Allegra, grandmother of Mariah, and great-grandmother to Lindsay.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A faithful reader on June 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
One of the things I love about Jo-Ann Mapson's books are the way the characters seem like someone you know -- or wish you knew. In this novel we get to hear from two young girls (yep, Sally's back!), and Mapson is just as good at understanding teenagers as she is the cranky grandma. Nobody does dialogue better. Mapson has always reminded me of Larry McMurtry at his best. But she's stayed at the peak of her craft. Another funny and wise book from one of my favorite authors. (The fudge is dang good, too!)
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Earlene Fowler on July 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Okay, I admit I'm a bit partial. More than a bit. She's my friend. But, trust me when I tell you she's a dynamite writer. I would love her books even if I didn't know her. And this one is as wonderful as all the others. It's got her trademark down-to-earth, complex characters, absorbing and always fresh and original plots, plural intended because she writes the type of books I like to read, ones where, like life, many things are going on in the character's lives and all of them interesting and familiar. I haven't gotten my piece of fudge yet except fictionally, but I'm telling you, this book is like very, very good fudge, the kind my Kansas grandma used to make, the REAL kind, where you have to time it to get it right...this book is

that, real and right and so, so good. Buy one for yourself and one for your best girlfriend. You won't be sorry.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Manazer on July 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
When asked who my favorite author is, Jo-Ann Mapson's name is always first to cross my lips. It's books like The Own and Moon Cafe that keep her in position number one. Her characters are real people meeting real-life crises. A reviewer above stated it more aptly: they're people you know or want to know.

My husband asked me about the book this morning. I was only 50 pages into the tome, but I told him that I already didn't want it to end. The story called to me whenever I manged to put it aside. I just turned the last page, sated and satisfied, but also sad that it had ended.

All of Mapson's books are gems. This one may be her strongest yet. The characters, the story, the emotions....all blend into a masterpiece.

If you're on the fence about purchasing this book, rest assured that it's a top-notch read. You'll be a Mapson fan in the first chapter.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Veronica P. on July 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Wow. Jo-Ann Mapson has done it again. This book is like a fine box of chocolates that you cannot stop eating until the whole box is gone. What I love about Jo-Ann's books is that she creates characters you want to know more and who glue themselves to the reader's heart. This book is awesome. I love the way she creates a community of people who live in your soul. This book is exceptionally well crafted and touches upon subjects that need talking about. I fell in love with each character and needed to finish the book in record time because I came to care about each and every one. I simply wanted to know what fate befell each one. There were so many moments in which my eyes watered as we each face aging and its issues. I am grateful to have visited Monterey once because it helped me to visualize as I read. Great job Jo-Ann especially in having the Bad Girl characters surface a bit here too. Please let these characters come again in your writings. Bravo girlfriend!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tonya Speelman VINE VOICE on March 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I GET IT! I get the meaning of the name! Here we have four generations of women running The Owl & Moon Cafe. Gammy, the great-grandmother is religious and getting older. Allegra (Alice) is the hippie grandmother. Mariah is the over-anxious daughter who wants to know who her dad is and then there is her daughter Lindsay. Mariah loses her job at the college and has to move into the upstairs part of the cafe with her mom and grandma, with her daughter in tow. Allegra collapses one day to find out she has leukemia. Lindsay is an 8th-grader, very intelligent and curious about life.

This book has just the right amount of love, friendships and family. You won't want to put it down!
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