Thursday, 24 December 2020


3.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads


How I discovered this book: it was submitted to Rosie's Book Review Team, of which I am a member.  I couldn't resist that gorgeous cover, even before I read the blurb!

In a Nutshell: Romance and family dramas, set in Hawaii, California and Cambodia

This book was not as I expected from the blurb.  I did enjoy much of it, even though I was expecting to read about human relationships in general, travel, adventures in and the cultures of countries far away; however, this aspect of it does not start until Part 5, at 72% in the Kindle version.  For the most part, this book is a romance.

Luna and Lucien are two rather humourless, intense young people, both so introspective that I felt the powerful love between them was more about seeing a reflection of themselves in each other.  They meet because Luna leaves her journal in a café they both frequent, and Lucien finds and reads it.  I liked the beginning of the book, when Luna is young and spends her summers with her beloved grandmother in Hawaii; this came alive for me, making me feel nostalgic for a place I had never been to, which is always a good sign.  The grandmother was lovely, and I enjoyed reading about the life there.  As Luna grows older, falls in love for the first time and discovers secrets about her family, her naïveté is a little irritating, and I found Lucien's obsession with her and her journal a little creepy.

I could easily have skipped the drawn-out detail about their love affair to get to by far the most interesting part of the book: Luna's experiences in Cambodia.  I had limited knowledge about this country, and what I read made me want to find out more, so this certainly ticked a box.  

As for the writing itself, it flows very well, and the author writes nicely, though I found the dialogue rather unrealistic, particularly between Luna and Lucien. Much of the book is written in journal entry and letters between the two main characters, a structure I like, and alternates between their two points of view.  I found the main characters too bland to care much what happened between or to them, but this is only personal taste; other readers may see this story as a beautiful romance.  Had there been more about Hawaii and Cambodia and less about Lucien and Luna's self-absorption, I might have loved it.

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