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The Moon Sisters: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 4, 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Jazz and Olivia Moon are about as different as sisters can be. The death of their mother, which appears to have been a suicide, hits them both hard, but their reactions are completely opposite. Practical, 22-year-old Jazz gets a job at the funeral home that handled their mother’s funeral, while dreamy 18-year-old Olivia half blinds herself by staring at the sun and decides to visit a bog to catch sight of the wisps that her mother talked and wrote about. Accompanied by reluctant Jazz, Olivia sets off, but when the bus they’re driving breaks down, Olivia makes the rash decision to stow away on a train. There she meets a tattooed, reticent young drifter named Hobbs, who agrees to help her find the wisps. When Jazz catches up with them, she’s immediately put off by Hobbs and furious with Olivia’s refusal to give up her mission or accept that their mother’s death was a suicide. Both heartbreaking and hopeful, the Moon sisters’ journey is no quixotic quest, and readers will find themselves completely immersed in their transformative search. This magical, moving tale is not to be missed. --Kristine Huntley

Review

A Library Journal 2014 Best in Women's Fiction

Wonderful…Walsh, who sets her novel in the remoter and magical regions of West Virginia, constructs a gripping story, rich in thematic texture and narrative technique.” –The Roanoke Times

A mesmerizing novel with two unique, unforgettable and interesting characters — the Moon sisters. [Walsh] explores family dynamics, love, dreams, ambition and more…If you have a sister, The Moon Sisters will probably touch you in an even deeper way, as it explores the complicated relationships between siblings, especially when parents are unstable themselves. Once you've read a novel by Walsh, you'll want to read more. She has an amazing way with language and building characters you want to get to know.” –The News-Gazette

Walsh has written a beautiful, lush novel fueled by a fairy-tale journey of grief, love, and will-o'-the-wisps. Fans of coming-of-age novels and magical realism will be drawn in and may never want to leave.” –Library Journal, starred review

Both heartbreaking and hopeful, the Moon sisters’ journey is no quixotic quest, and readers will find themselves completely immersed in their transformative search. This magical, moving tale is not to be missed.” –Booklist, starred review

Luminous… Walsh explores how the [Moon] sisters’ experience of the outside world transforms their views of each other and themselves, in a book packed with invention and rich characterizations.” –Publishers Weekly

“Their journey is…one of self-discovery and growth. Their most important lesson is nicely summed up by Jazz near the end: ‘I guess we can’t control life, or the people in it. … But we can control ourselves — right now, in this moment. That’s something. Maybe it’s everything.’” –Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Therese Walsh has done it again.  She is fast becoming known for delivering lush, emotional and deeply atmospheric reads that never disappoint.  Her second book, The Moon Sisters, is a magical journey of grief, hope and the power of family bonds.  It is a novel for the senses, a harmony of sounds, sights, scents and tastes, the likes of which you have never experienced before.  You won't want to miss this one.” –Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of Lost Lake
 
The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh shimmers on the precipice where the grief-stricken teeter between loss and recovery, a place that often resembles madness. Sisters Olivia and Jazz battle as they hold each other tight in this touching coming of age tale that weighs family loyalty against distinctive truths. Walsh leavens magic realism with humor, balances enchantment and pragmatic truth, and stirs them into a poignant family story.” –Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters
 
“Emotionally taut and intricately woven, The Moon Sisters takes us on a dreamlike journey that is at once literal and literary. A story of family ties stretched to their limits and the underlying wound that bothbinds and breaks them. Therese Walsh has created a compelling read I couldn't put down and a world of authentic travelers who linger long beyond the final pages. A tale of true sisterhood.” –Brunonia Barry, New York Times and International bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places

The Moon Sisters is a novel to fall in love with… to break your heart over… to linger with and think about after you’ve finished the last of Walsh’s lovely, singing, heart-wrenching words. There is magic in the story and in the language itself and you’ll find yourself wanting to buy a copy for your sister, or your best friend… just so you have someone to share it with.” –M.J. Rose, international bestselling author of Seduction and The Book of Lost Fragrances

“This breezy read combines soulful mysticism, the complexities of sibling relationships, and adventure travel as two sisters search for the answers to their novelist mother’s sudden and suspicious death.” –Yoga Journal
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307461602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307461605
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"If you live your whole life hoping and dreaming the wrong things, what does that mean about your whole life?"

Beth Moon believed in one thing her entire adulthood—something that surpassed the importance of her husband, children, and self. Beth Moon was a writer, one who incorporated her dream into every word she penned, and one who penned words into every dream she dreamed. Upon recognizing the inevitable void in her entire crux of belief, she fell into a terrifying depression; and soon after, she took her own life.

But this is not the story of Beth Moon. Not really, anyways. This is the story of Beth Moon's untimely, ill-fated death: the uncovering of and reconciliation with her past, her ailments, her baggage. This is the story of her dreams and her writing: her unsent letters and unfinished novel. Ultimately, however, this is the story of her daughters, Jazz and Olivia Moon, and more importantly: of their inheritance.

Olivia's reality has always been bizarre, so when she decides to toss her mother's ashes into a suitcase and leave her isolated West Virginian hometown to go off to fulfill her mother's yearnings, Jazz isn't all that surprised.

"[Olivia has] never been the poster child for sense."

Olivia's unfaltering quest propels the clashing sisters into what begins as a risky adventure—involving traveling, train-hoppers, and the unforgiving wilderness—and ends in devastating but simultaneously uplifting family revelations that makes The Moon Sisters one of the most evocative and perceptive adult coming-of-age novels I've ever read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up The Moon Sisters after seeing some positive reviews on other blogs. But, it was fairly middle of the road for me. It wasn’t painful to read, but it didn’t really speak to me either. I re-read a couple of the blog reviews after finishing the book and noticed that a few mentioned it being a great choice for those that appreciate the bond of sisters. Maybe I should have paid more attention to this initially because I grew up with two brothers! Could a lack of understanding of the sisterly bond be why this book didn’t speak to me?

Beth Moon, Jazz and Olivia’s mother, was a writer who had been working on one novel her entire life and couldn’t bring herself to finish it. She was pretty much housebound, had a sleeping disorder, and may well have suffered from manic depression (or bipolar disorder). She was disowned by her successful father when she got pregnant with Jazz and eloped with Banik, Jazz’s father.

Part of the novel focuses on Beth’s unresolved issues with her father and I did enjoy that part of the story. I feel like this segment had some teeth and I possibly would have liked the book better had it been a more central focus.

Much of the book focuses on Olivia’s method of dealing with her mother’s death, which was to go to the real life setting of Beth’s fictional novel (a remote bog in the West Virginia mountains) to try to see a “ghost fairy” (some sort of light that twinkles in the bog at night). This involves living in the woods, train hopping, sketchy characters, and Jazz being forced to tag along to keep Olivia out of trouble. And, this is where The Moon Sisters lost me.

I saw Olivia much as Jazz sees her…as an irresponsible, immature girl that lacks any semblance of judgement.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Therese Walsh is no stranger to exploring sibling relationships. She did it in her book, "The Last Will of Moira Leahy" with the identical twins Maeve and Moira. And now, in her newest work, she revisits the theme of sister bonding with 22-year-old Jazz Moon and her younger sister, Olivia.

The atmosphere in "The Moon Sisters" is one of gloom as Jazz and Olivia have grown up weighed down by their mother's bouts of depression and when she dies, they both have difficulty coming to terms not only with her death but also with each other. Jazz is the doer, the sensible, down-to-earth sister. Olivia, though legally blind, is impulsive, irresponsible and the dreamer, able to experience the world in ways Jazz could only imagine. Olivia has synesthesia, a condition that enables her to associate words with taste, sounds with images and sight with smells. The death of their mother exacerbates the tension that has already existed between them, but when Olivia sets up to travel on her own to the Monongahela Forest to fulfill her mother's life-long wish to see a will-o'-the-wisp, Jazz, being the responsible one, has no other choice than to reluctantly join her.

The journey is an opportunity for author Therese Walsh to dwell into these two young women's childhood memories. Jazz and Olivia take turns as narrators of the story, letting readers know how each of them is being misunderstood by the other one, how each experienced their mother and how differently her death has affected each of them. As much as "The Moon Sisters" is a story about sibling ties and rivalry, it is also about the parent-child relationship. The themes of "the good daughter" and of parental favoritism are seen from the different points of view of Jazz and Olivia.
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