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The Seventh Moon (1992)

by Marius Gabriel(Favorite Author)
4.07 of 5 Votes: 5
1909869678 (ISBN13: 9781909869677)
Thistle Books
review 1: A WELL CRAFTED STORYTo be honest this is not my usual sort of read, but I was gifted a copy by the authors representative in exchange for a review. The story itself spans more than thirty decades, beginning in WWII and the Japanese invasion of Singapore. Francine Lawrence is a Eurasian woman married to an Englishman, a mining engineer. As the threat from the Japanese increases he sends her away with their young daughter Ruth to the famous Raffles hotel, with the promise to join them soon. As the days pass by Francines husband's absence makes her more and more anxious. Soon it becomes clear that he isn't coming. Francine meets another man at the hotel Major Clive Napier he becomes Francine's lover. Eventually it's with Clive's assistance that they attempt to escape. Then th... morerough a set of harrowing circumstances Francine is forced to leave Ruth with strangers, hoping to be reunited with her later.Thirty years later a young woman walks into Francine's New York office, her name is Sakura Ueda. But is she Francine's long lost daughter or a complete fraudster looking for a handout, as Francine is now a very wealthy business woman. As the story unfolds the truth will be told.I think I will have to describe this book an unputdownable. It's very well written, fast moving with plenty of drama and twists to the plot. I liked the characters each of them had real depth. I particularly liked Clive he was loyal and loving, even though Francine didn't always treat him very well. Sakura was a very complex character with many hidden depths and secrets. As for Francine she had been through a lot, but at times she was a little too harsh, but I did get that. This is a great read from an author I have not read before, but I'm definitely going to read more of his work.
review 2: Title: The Seventh MoonAuthor: Marius GabrielGenre: Mainstream FictionLength: 135,000 words (estimated)Reviewer: Pearson MooreRating: 4.5 StarsSummaryFrancine Lawrence, a woman straddling two cultures and races, is forced to give up her daugther Ruth in war-torn Borneo in early 1942. She and her lover, Clive Napier, spend the next 25 years following every clue in an attempt to find Ruth. But the deprivations and dangers of war force difficult, often unthinkable choices. The world-changing events exercise forces no less powerful on the characters' mindsets, leading to harsh realignments of attitude and spirit.ReviewThe Seventh Moon is one of those rare and powerful gems that provides surprising, thought-provoking insights into human reality, the nature of love, and the value and meaning of family and relationship. The novel is gritty, raw, and unflinching in its portrayal of the characters' evolution from innocent, trusting mother, nephew, and daughter into wounded, hardened individuals too familiar with organized brutality. I found a few rough spots, preventing me from awarding a perfect five stars. But I believe most readers will come away from this novel recognizing it for the truly thoughtful, intelligent, and original creation I believe it to be.The story is engrossing. Early in the first chapter I began to get a sense that the plot was proceeding at multiple levels simultaneously, and then New Year's Eve came. The celebration in the hotel was an epiphany for me as soon as Francine gasped, "Oh, God." As the narration noted, "English voices were raised in a chorus of 'Auld Lang Syne.' Francine shuddered. The sentimental Scottish tune was almost identical to the music played at Chinese funerals." I realized while reading the New Year's Even scene that the historical events of the war were not only paralleling Francine's growing unease about her duty-bound British husband, but Mr. Gabriel was actually weaving character actions, attitudes, and historical events together, creating a tightly-woven tapestry that extended from World War II right into the Vietnam War. Thus it was not surprising that the events and mindsets of 1942 paralleled those of 1967, but the richness of developments was felt equally in the horrors of war and in the cruelty of Francine's inner self.The philosophical starting point for the novel is Richard Lovelace's poem "To Lucasta, Going to the Wars," quoted by Francine in a fit of bitter disappointment with her work-til-the-last-minute husband: "I could not love thee, Dear, so much, Loved I not Honour more." But that is only the starting point, and the meaning of the Lovelace's line is later twisted and contorted in the main characters' lives. Every character is in her own way fascinating; there are no character templates, and each of the main players is affected by the abuses and tortures of war in different ways. I found in Clive a particularly strong and intriguing philosophical challenge that I believe expresses the thesis of the novel. I won't spoil it for readers by explaining what I feel this is, but I will say Clive's small but important contribution to Gabriel's main idea is probably best summed up in his words to Sakura near the end of the book: "A tiger can hide in a patch of sunlight."I found the early passages from Sakura's point of view narrative not as well synthesized as other voices. We see her erratic and logic-defying behavior well before learning of the events in childhood and youth that fully explained her on-again/off-again approach to Francine's entreaties. Of course, Francine herself played both cat and mouse in the dance with Sakura, but I had a far better appreciation of Francine's behavior, since her early choices were fully dramatized prior to the later confrontations with Sakura. A more thoughtful (and more intelligent!) reader may appreciate that Sakura's behavior was the natural outcome of someone forced to endure the life of a despised half-breed orphan living in the gutter. I needed a bit more prompting from the author, so I felt let down in the middle part of the book, at least regarding Sakura's motivations.So much more could be said. Francine came to despise her husband for relegating her and their child to second tier in his hierarchy of values. By tying Frank Lawrence's priorities to the romantic, utterly British sentiments of Richard Lovelace, one might come away believing Gabriel was indicting British values as a whole. However, a more than equal counterpoint is provided in the minor character Brigadier Napier, Clive's uncle, who evinces an uncompromising attitude of racial equality and human worth. No such harmonizing counterpoints are provided for Japanese and American evildoers, and I believe this is intentional, in that war-era Japanese racism and Vietnam-era American imperialism represent the philosophical underside of the author's thesis.This novel contains harsh language and graphic sexuality and should probably be considered appropriate for adults over the age of 18. The author provided a complementary ebook edition of this novel in exchange for an honest review.The 4.5 stars I award this novel are more than I have given to all but a small handful of self-published novels. More often than not, I am obliged to award two or at most three stars. I have to turn away about 90 percent of review requests, as the writing is of such juvenile quality as to render the book unreadable. I found just one typographical error in this novel. That's a first for me, in any book. I found not a single grammatical error, and I actively look for them, like a wolf with sharp fangs. I'm not an easy grader, and I'm a very fussy reviewer. Mr. Gabriel's novel is deeper, more engrossing, and more thought provoking than most traditionally published novels and all but a very small percentage of self-published works. I heartily recommend this outstanding book to all mature readers.4.5 Stars less
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I really enjoyed this book and am on the lookout for Gabriel's other mysteries.
This was a great read from start to finish. Would highly recommend.
Heart wrenching and hard to put down!
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