At the close of World War II, a chance encounter sets the course for one man’s destiny…
During the Nazi occupation, fifteen-year-old Paul Vertune, the sensitive son of wheat farmers, prefers gazing at the ocean and contemplating life’s mysteries over toiling in the fields of the Brittany coast. One fateful day, Paul’s life is spared by a compassionate German soldier with eyes as blue as the sea. When Paul’s village is liberated, an angry mob turns against their occupiers. The German soldier, near death, asks Paul to promise him one thing: find his daughter and tell her that her father loved her.
As Paul becomes a man, he fulfills his childhood dream of sailing the world, even as twists of fate steer his life in unexpected directions. But through it all, Paul never forgets his promise.
Beautifully moving and deeply profound, Seasons of the Moon evokes a sense of wonder at the mystery of human connection and the powerful ripple effects of kindness.
Seasons of the Moon was one of those books that had me captivated by the first few chapters with its rich setting and intricate detail of emotions. I find most novels that have been translated from another language are often, well, lost in translation. But with Seasons of the Moon, I found myself flying through the pages and getting lost in the story.
That is how I grew up, amid a whirlpool of emotions nipped in the bud, suppressed, without realizing that one day all the corpses at the bottom of the river would float to the surface.
One thing this novel addressed throughout the entire story was the inequality of how men and women were treated. Women were not meant to have opinions or take part in anything serious. Men were not meant to be sensitive and kind, nothing more than soldiers made to kill.
Women didn’t have much of a choice in those days. They were born, grew up helping their mothers, got married, had children, took care of the household tasks, then died, worn out by domestic chores. No emancipation or liberty; men determined everything. Only a few, more resilient women managed to succeed I’m this battle between the sexes.
I think Aranda did a wonderful job of discussing these topics, which are still relevant in our day. Men and women should be allowed to do and feel the same things.
Typically, when it comes to this time frame, I haven’t read about many male characters that are kind and sensitive (which is understandable with everything going on), so Paul was a breath of fresh air. He was a dreamer, always looking up to the moon, so full of hope despite the darkness of the world. And he actually acknowledged the inequality several times throughout the novel.
War is nothing but the bloody projection of a pained soul lashing out. Because when everything is going wrong, it’s easier to hate than to love, easier to pick up a weapon than to open one’s arms.
Paul didn’t want to fight. He didn’t want to kill. Ever since he was little, he has this overwhelming urge to explore the world. To take to the sea, embracing the hold of the earth. And no matter what this man experiences, he always finds a way to smile again. To keep his promises.
“Of course. Some people avoid other people’s gaze for the fear of being unmasked. Looking someone in the eye means exposing oneself, revealing one’s fragilities. Some men hate doing that, my darling, because they don’t want to show their sensitivity, their feminine side. It’s frowned upon in the adult world.”
All right, now about the romance, I actually didn’t hate it. I know, shocking. Despite Paul falling in love with a girl from his village the instant he saw her, I actually found their relationship very truthful and endearing. Through everything they experienced on their own and together, it only brought them closer together. I also admired Paul’s fearlessness to fall in love, how he wasn’t afraid to be in touch with his feminine side.
Our days pass like shooting stars in the sky. We pause to watch them for a moment, fascinated by the strangeness of their origins. When they start to fade, when the show is no longer entertaining enough, we return to our everyday business, already bored with their enchanting trails.
I could go on and on about how beautiful and heartbreaking this novel was, how many beautiful sentences I collected from this one story, but then I’d basically end up writing a novel.
If you’re interested in a lyrical historical fiction, I highly recommend picking up Seasons of the Moon. Do be warned, however, that this novel takes place during World War II and therefore discusses the events around then, which can be traumatic.
Thankfully, this book didn’t focus on the events of the war too much, but still, understandably, it may be tough to read for certain people. But if you have no issues with this, then be sure to pick up Seasons of the Moon!
Thank you to AmazonCrossing and Netgalley for giving me access to an early copy of Seasons of the Moon in exchange for an honest review. Seasons of the Moon is expected to be released September 26, 2017. Pre-order your copy with one of links below!
What are some of your favorite historical fiction novels of this year? Have any of you already read Seasons of the Moon? What are your thoughts on it? Be sure to let me know!