Audiobook, Contemporary Fiction

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane @Mary_Beth_Keane @NorbertLButz #RebeccaLowman @SimonAudio @librofm

the setup…
Malcolm and Jessica (Jess) Gephardt’s marriage is in trouble but he doesn’t seem to know it, that is until the day he comes home and her bags are packed. Jess describes it as a need for some time away to think on her own. And that’s part of their problem…neither of them able to communicate their true feelings very well, to each other or themselves. How did they get here and how can you fix something you don’t understand is even broken?

the heart of the story…
The story is told from Malcolm and Jess’s points of view, alternating between them and transitioning from past to present. Those transitions are tricky because the time jumps are all over the place but they were masterfully presented and interwoven into a compelling narrative. But the heart of this story centers around the Half Moon bar where Malcom and Jess met, located in a small suburban town in New York. He was a bartender at the time, perfectly suited in the time and place with his magnetic personality and imposing presence. She’s a lawyer beginning her career but never questioned her heart was forever connected here. That bar defines him and Jess was mesmerized by the man. They soon married but over the years their fertility issues, financial woes stemming from owning the bar and struggles to communicate take a toll. It all culminates during a momentous week in the midst of a blizzard and strange circumstances involving a missing patron.

the narration…
I’m glad two separate narrators were used to tell this story because of the complicated transitions. They both delivered subtle performances, which lacked unnecessary drama and over emoting, allowing the characters’ natures to shine through unimpeded. Loved it!

the bottom line…
To say the story is complex oversimplifies the magic of it all. Malcolm and Jess are a microcosm of what happens to a marriage when it’s not tended to, distracted by other serious issues and creating wedges that they don’t even realize are being created. The exploration was insightful and there were times I sympathized with Jess and then switched to Malcolm. Both behaved badly at times and my opinions of them also shifted. Their journey to resolution, however, required the pain and self examination the separation forced them to face. The secondary plot involving the missing patron seemed disconnected but I had an “aha” moment when I finally realized its significance. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided to listen to this story but it far surpassed what I’d imagined.

Book Info

  • Release Date: May 2, 2023
  • Narrators: Norbert Leo Butz & Rebecca Lowman
  • Audio Length: 10 hours, 23 minutes
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio


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(Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own).

11 thoughts on “The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane @Mary_Beth_Keane @NorbertLButz #RebeccaLowman @SimonAudio @librofm”

  1. Wonderful review, Jo. I love when a book is better than I am anticipating. I always love when there is both a male and female narrator and it sounds like they did a great job with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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