Monday 31 October 2016

Reviewed: Moondance by Diane Chandler

TITLE: Moondance
AUTHOR: Diane Chandler
PUBLISHER: Blackbird

PUBLICATION DATE: November 1, 2016

Amazon - Goodreads

How can you long for someone who doesn't exist?

Cat has always been in control of her life. Happily married to Dom, but flying high as a political lobbyist, she dismisses his desire to start a family ... until she herself is ready.

But what if it is then too late?

Complex and selfish, intelligent and open, if she is to succeed in having that elusive child, Cat must battle through gruelling fertility treatment and the emotional strain it places on her marriage. By her side, Dom, easygoing and ever the optimist, finds that he too risks being run ragged by their journey.

Both are forced to come to terms with their longing for a baby against the blitz on a relationship tested like never before.

Moondance is very absorbing as it powerfully explores the emotions of a couple through their infertility. Desperate to conceive, now the time is right, Cat and Dom are putting themselves through the gruelling and upsetting process of IVF, and I really felt it for them and what they were going through. As the book switches in time between when Cat and Dom first met to present day when they are hoping for a baby, I was absolutely captivated by the author’s enchanting writing as she showed such honesty in a brave and moving story, whilst combining it with a level of humour that helped the story be enjoyable and not simply sad. Although be warned – there were tears!

Cat is one of those characters that, though not obviously likeable, somehow manages to draw the reader in and has you rooting for her and caring for her. I felt like that friend who was bemused and frustrated by her and shouted at her – a lot – but really just had her best interests at heart. I love it when an author can make you care for a character without really feeling that you like them. I found I could connect with Cat despite her self-centred attitude and being able to understand and empathise with her helped me immerse myself in the story more. As the reader, we really get such a strong emotional insight into a couple going through the process of IVF, that to me it is virtually impossible not to feel some form of attachment to Cat and Dom.

Moondance is a really thought-provoking book and one that I have found myself talking about a lot whilst reading it and after I’d finished. It has a really fascinating outlook on the idea of becoming a parent and the reasons why a couple may want a child. It’s not always about really wanting a child. Sometimes women are expected to become mothers and there is a lot of pressure that way. Other times, maybe only one person in the couple wants a child and the other feels a bit forced into it. There are many different ideas behind becoming a parent, but when you can’t conceive naturally a lot of that control is taken away from a person and I found this both interesting and heart-breaking to read.

The author has written an intelligent, touching and mind-opening story and one that well represents the process of IVF for one couple, whilst at the same time giving the true impression that each couple who has been through IVF would have a different story to tell. It’s a very emotional book that moved me to tears at times and also had me frustrated both at and for Cat and Dom with each “failure” to conceive. The main theme to Moondance is raw but the author does it justice with incredible, emotive writing that pulls you into the story and tugs on your heart-strings.

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