Random House Publishing Group | July 2016 | 416 pgs
We live because we are remembered. ~ Pg 388
Valley of the Moon is a time-travel fantasy with a time period set between 1906 and the 1980s. Alternating between two core narratives, this story tells a timeless love and the vast farm community in Greengage, Valley of the Moon.
It is San Francisco, 1975. When Lux first stumbles upon Valley of the Moon on a full moon with a heavy fog surrounding her camp site over the Sonoma landscape, she thought she has wandered into a site meant for a history show, considering the people she met wore their clothings like they belong in another era. But no, she also realises that the farm is huge and that the way they behave and speak make them seem like they do live in another time. And they are.
Valley of the Moon, California - 1906. Joseph Bell, the person who is solely in charge of Greengage, has great plans for their community and he also believes in equality in status and class. In his mind, he feels that everyone deserves a better life and fairness, just like his late mother had devoted to many causes including education and women's rights. He bought the luscious valley which later became Greengage; a home not only for himself and his wife but also a tribute to his late mother and her ideals. The farm flourishes, but an earthquake shattered the community and the residents find themselves forever trapped within Greengage, with a towering bank of fog that hung at the edge of the woods. They had lost two men who had tried to enter the fogbank; they even did a few experiments with their domestic animals and they died, too. Until Lux steps in from that fogbank alive and into their hearts. Lux later discovers that only she is able to come and go and that she will come to a stage when she will be torn between these two different worlds she is in.
I was sucked into Melanie Gideon's world of Greengage, despite that I am not a huge time travel genre fan. The past and the 1970s and 80s settings were what most enticing to me, for I love reading anything which is historical. While the 20th century doesn't seem like decades ago, it still brings back memories and nostalgia for readers who are familiar with that time period. But, this story is more about Lux's and Joseph's life and the struggles they faced in their own time. Lux has had issues with her father since she was a teenager; and then there is the challenge of bringing up a five-year-old boy as a single parent. And being able to travel through the past appears to be her escapism. For Joseph, aside from his dreams he is a futurist who sees beyond and hope for something much more better; which is why he sees Lux as his guide to a "new world".
The ending was filled with melancholy; one which reminds us how time waits for no man.
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