Posted 20 hours ago

The Half Moon: The compelling new novel from the New York Times bestselling author

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In the midst of a raging blizzard, a mysterious disappearance sends shockwaves through their already fragile existence. They soon married but over the years their fertility issues, financial woes stemming from owning the bar and struggles to communicate take a toll. As I cozied up beside the fire, they invited me into their small-town bar and into the shambles of their marriage during an impending snowstorm.

Book Marks reviews of The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane Book Marks reviews of The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

Malcolm and Jess are a stunning couple on paper: he is a handsome bartender, and she's a successful lawyer.I am not always the biggest fan of tales focusing so heavily on a person's poor business decisions, and the purchase of the bar and the aftermath of that was my least favorite part of this book. Most businesses had heeded the weather forecast and closed in advance of the coming storm, but when Malcolm approached the traffic light and saw his own squat, brown-shingled building at the bottom of the hill, something lifted in his chest and he leaned over the steering wheel. This tactic, she says, gets her “out of her head” and helps “quiet” any noise that’s keeping her creativity at bay. I have Keane’s previous novel, ASK AGAIN, YES, sitting unread on my TBR shelf, but mark my words, it won’t stay unread for long.

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane | Goodreads

I kept hoping things would work out for Malcom, because like him I worked in the bar business for many years in my 20’s. The strength of this narrative lies not only in its gripping plot and thought-provoking themes but also in its masterful characterization. Malcolm Gephardt, handsome and gregarious longtime bartender at the Half Moon, has always dreamed of owning a bar. Subplots involving a missing Half Moon regular and the threatening visits of a man pressuring Malcolm to repay his debts interleave developments in the marriage.And when their dreams prove difficult to obtain, their relationship cracks, forcing them to question not only what they want out of life but also what they want from their marriage. During a storm they both have to reconsider the choices they have made and get on with their lives but will it be alone or together?

THE HALF MOON | Kirkus Reviews THE HALF MOON | Kirkus Reviews

Keane’s down-to-earth characters in Gillam are reminiscent of Anne Tyler’s wonderfully authentic Baltimore personalities. The bar has been struggling since Malcolm fulfilled his dream and bought both the business and the building, the latter against the advice of his lawyer wife, Jess. In flashbacks, we learn that she has been increasingly attracted to Neil, a divorced lawyer who is the primary caregiver of his three young children and has recently moved to Gillam.After years of trying for a baby, she is facing the idea that motherhood may not be in the cards for her. An angry, powerful book seething with love and outrage for a community too often stereotyped or ignored.

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