Thank you to Scribner Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘭𝘧 𝘔𝘰𝘰𝘯 is a quietly beautiful novel about marriage and a failing bar, set over the course of one week. I am in love with Mary Beth Keane’s writing and I couldn’t out this one down.
The author’s previous book 𝘈𝘴𝘬 𝘈𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯, 𝘠𝘦𝘴, was also moody and atmospheric and brilliantly written. She has once again captured my heart with this emotional story about The Half Moon, a local pub run by Malcolm, who has toiled there for years first as a bartender and now as the owner. His wife Jess is a lawyer who is beginning to feel discontented in her marriage. She and Malcolm have tried unsuccessfully to have a baby and it has taken a harsh toll on their relationship.
The dual timelines set the stage for how Malcolm and Jess first met and fell in love. Malcolm is the handsome, gregarious type who friends and family always turn to for help or support. Jess is more introverted and thoughtful. Both of them are deeply flawed, realistic characters.
I love how the author unflinchingly portrays the struggles of marriage, job pressures and family relationships. There is also a rather mysterious but very engaging side story about a missing bar patron, and several other supporting side characters who I loved.
Both Malcolm and Jess make some questionable choices but the author never judges them. I loved the satisfying conclusion of this book which ended on a hopeful and uplifting note. If you love small-town, character driven novels about marriage and family, you’ll love 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘢𝘭𝘧 𝘔𝘰𝘰𝘯.
About the Book:
From the bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes, a masterful novel about a couple in a small town who must navigate the complexities of marriage, family, and longing.
Malcolm Gephardt, handsome and gregarious longtime bartender at the Half Moon, has always dreamed of owning a bar. When his boss finally retires, Malcolm stretches to buy the place. He sees unquantifiable magic and potential in the Half Moon and hopes to transform it into a bigger success, but struggles to stay afloat.
His smart and confident wife, Jess, has devoted herself to her law career. After years of trying for a baby, she is facing the idea that motherhood may not be in the cards for her. Like Malcolm, she feels her youth beginning to slip away and wonders how to reshape her future.
Award-winning author Mary Beth Keane’s new novel takes place over the course of one week when Malcolm learns shocking news about Jess, a patron of the bar goes missing, and a blizzard hits the town of Gillam, trapping everyone in place. With a deft eye and generous spirit, Keane explores the disappointments and unexpected consolations of midlife, the many forms forgiveness can take, the complicated intimacy of small-town living, and what it means to be a family.
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