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Clair de Lune: A Novel

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  381 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
With its atmospheric story of small-town dreams and romance, Clair de Lune weaves an irresistible spell of longing, hope, love, and nostalgia. A newly discovered novel by Jetta Carleton, Clair de Lune will delight the legions of readers who have treasured her first—and, until now, only—published novel, The Moonflower Vine. A book of unsurpassable literary fiction, Clair de ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Harper Perennial
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(showing 1-30 of 1,185)
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2.5 Stars

The author (Jetta Carleton) writes in chapter one that Allen Liles is a fictional character, but not all of the story is imagined.....part of it is her own.

Set in 1941 southern Missouri near the Ozark Mountains (JC's home town) 25 year old Allen has just accepted her first real job as a junior college teacher where she finds her proud self a good ten years younger than some of her colleagues and more like twenty or thirty than others.

This coming-of-age story is about inappropriate stude

Shari Larsen
Mar 18, 2013 Shari Larsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The setting for this story is southwest Missouri, 1941, before the U.S. has entered World War II. A single young woman named Allen Liles has just taken a job teaching at a junior college in a small town. She dreams of one day moving to New York and being a writer. She strikes up a friendship with two young men who are students, George, a lanky, carefree spirit, and Toby, dark-haired with a searching soul. They get together after school and on weekends, bantering and debating over books, ethics, ...more
Mar 27, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy
I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

Jetta Carleton is the author of a little-known but well-loved novel called The Moonflower Vine. It was, so far as anyone knew, her only book. After her death, her family looked for the manuscript she had been working on but assumed it was lost in a tornado. However, the manuscript was bequeathed to an old friend and has since fallen into the hands of Harper Perennial. And thus we have Clair de Lune.

Allen Liles
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Bittersweet. That's the lingering taste of this book, rich and redolent, and when I finished, I kind of wanted to spend the rest of my Sunday in a Claire de Lune-stupor, rereading the lovely passages and wallowing in the satisfyingly sad/happy mood of the novel.

Hope, optimism, and innocence are themes of this book, along with passion, delight in literature, and the joy of finding kindred souls. Barbara Allen Liles -- called Allen -- becomes a teacher at a junior college in an unnamed town in sou
Lydia Presley
This book charmed the pants off of me. Not literally, but you get what I'm saying.

I found an instant connection with Allen Liles -her love of reading, her passion for teaching. Set in a time period that boasts of innocence we've lost today, Clair de Lune also deals with adult themes that threaten the charming atmosphere of the book in a way that provides just the right amount of tension without overpowering the story.

Honestly, I felt like I was transported back into the world of my grandparents.
Apr 21, 2016 Jessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
The heroine in this story is a school teacher and I am a school teacher so I had an immediate connection. I felt her timidity at the start of school. I felt her eagerness to teach the students even more than during class time. (Oh for students who asked for more...) **stope here for spoilers*** Of course I knew she had overstepped and gone too far. I did feel a longing for her wild abandon with the boys. She had a sense of freedom that not many every experience. It was the opposite feeling when ...more
Mar 31, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out a little slow for me, but I am so glad that I stuck it out as I found a new love and appreciation for the characters as the story developed. Young Allen isn't sure what to do with her life, but knowing that she needs to find a job to satisfy her debts, she lets her mother talk her into becoming a college professor at a small private institution. Her dreams are put on hold as she enters the world of higher education.

Allen is probably one of the youngest faculty members at th
Elizabeth B
I love to sink my teeth into a good literary history novel but this one fell surprisingly short. I had high hopes for it but it seems that no one bothered to edit this. The bones of a quality read are all here – depth of characters, setting, descriptions- but the amount of extraneous information nearly buries it. There is the “wall of text” failing where it is just pages and pages of no movement, no action, no revelations…just some inner monologue that adds nothing or a description of a building ...more
Aug 21, 2014 Katherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20th-century
Claire de Lune: A Novel by Jetta Carleton caught my attention with it's header: "A newly discovered Novel" which took me a second to process. It was found after the author's death in 1999, much to the surprise of everyone who thought it had been lost to a tornado. I'm very happy I decided to give this surprisingly fast read a chance.

Claire De Lune is first and foremost, a classic coming-of-age tale. Set as the second world war approaches the United States, the story follows the female protago
Feb 27, 2013 Charlie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Clair de Lune focuses on the innocence of a pre-war generation, both locally, globally and socially. There is a longing for what was, and a dread of what is to come -- the inevitable change. It also dips into the realm of boundaries not just separated by age, but influenced by position, power, gender and career. Although Allen is close in age with her students, she struggles with her new position at the university and the proper student-teacher relationship. What's relevant is how it might play ...more
Katherine Stewart
After The Moonflower Vine I guess I was expecting more. It's not that this is a particularly bad book, but it was certainly a disappointment. I had a lot of trouble getting into it, and pretty much just kept pushing through to finish it. I read it in fits and starts between other books over the course of the last 6 weeks. The entirety of the book felt very weak, and it floated along without the narrative ever feeling very grounded.

I have to give the book a bit of a break since it was not a fini
Loved loved loved this book! Only reason I didn't give it five is, not sure it's one of my all-time faves - I reserve the option to give it five stars at some later date. Other reviewers have summarized the story. I will put a couple of passages, because I think they are lovely. At the beginning, the author talks about innocence being in short supply nowadays. She then discusses expulsion from Eden, and the fact that the garden is not destroyed and that it is guarded only from the east. So, othe ...more
I read Jetta Carleton's first book, The Moonflower Vine back in the sixties when it was a Reader's Digest condensed book. I loved it.

This book was not published until after her death. I didn't like it as much as her previous book. I did think that it was well written. It tells the story of a young woman who gets a job at a junior college just before the outbreak of World War II. She gets in trouble with the administration when it is rumored that she is having an inappropriate relationship with t
Jun 10, 2012 Elizabeth☮ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent-reads
this feels like a nice warm evening wrapped around your shoulders.

allen liles is hired as a professor at a community college in missouri. she is young and vibrant and not much older than her students.

she soon befriends two young proteges and they often find themselves walking around town having philosophical and academic discussions.

the story is set in 1941 as america is on the cusp of entering WWII. but this is really a story about allen finding her calling in life. of living your life for yo
Tamara Riederer
Jan 06, 2015 Tamara Riederer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
awesome!! very old-fashioned and kind of dramatic. But I love her writingstyle!
Jan 25, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a strange and unexpected delight. It didn't always read smoothly, and the dialog sometimes seemed a little forced, but I fell in love with this book as a kind of fairy tale for grown ups, all the magic happening in the moonlight and the fog. It would be difficult to read this book and not be swept back to your early 20s, torn between wanting a life of adventure and needing a life of stability, caught in between all kinds of social pressures, not sure what to do but in search of a w ...more
Stephanie Seymore
Sep 13, 2013 Stephanie Seymore rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't believe how many people rated this book 4 stars. I found it incredibly boring and the main character (a teacher) like a spoiled child who ran around with younger students (males) because she WANTED to. She reminded me of my 9 year old who tells me he wants to do what he wants to do and I have to teach him why we can't all just succumb to every whim every time. This book actually made me angry. Unfortunately I'm a bit funny about books and have to finish in case I missed something.
May 10, 2012 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pretty sad I wasted time reading this. It was short and read easily, but the whole time I kept waiting for something to happen and nothing ever did. The main character was pathetic and whiny and I couldn't find any redeeming qualities in her at all. The only potentially interesting characters disappeared halfway through (cause for a lot of the whining) and came back at random towards the end. The two stars are for the style of writing and description which I did enjoy.
Apr 10, 2012 Kristi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The last half was utterly impossible to get through. It's never taken me this long to get through a book, especially considering all the time that I made in which to read it. This book should have just remained undiscovered.
Not as good as the Moonflower Vine, her only other book, that we read for book club.
Melissa A Comer
This long lost story, only the second novel by the late author Jetta Carleton, has an odd charm to it--beautifully written in a simple form as haunting as the melody for which it is titled. The year 1941 was pivotal with excellent, but brief historical references adding to the authenticity and well developed and believable characters--set in small town middle America on the brink of war and struggling post-Depression. I was uneasy but captivated by the teacher/students after hours relationship, ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Corinna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gleich zu Anfang tat ich mich mit Allen als Protagonistin sehr schwer. Es dauerte bis ich mich in die Zeit hineinversetzen konnte und verstehen weswegen Allen das tut, was ihre Mutter von ihr verlangt. Sie wird Lehrerin, obwohl sie doch viel lieber nach New York gehen würde um dort Dichterin oder Schriftstellerin zu werden. Doch sie beugt sich dem Willen ihrer Mutter und geht als Lehrerin an ein College. Denn sie muss noch Schulden und Studienkredite abbezahlen und dies geht mit einem sicheren J ...more
May 08, 2013 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

One-book-wonder Jetta Carleton was actually a two-book wonder, as it turns out. A draft manuscript for Clair de Lune (then called The Back Alleys of Spring), was discovered in the custody of an old friend of Carleton’s and published in 2012 by Harper Perennial after some “cleaning up.”

It’s a slighter work than The Moonflower Vine, but for me more enjoyable to read, simply because I identified with the main character, Allen, a community college instructor, and her desire to escape the small-minde
May 09, 2012 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one review I’ve dreaded and looked forward to writing. My fear is that I won’t do it justice, won’t be able to impart even a glimmer of what this book is about to the future prospective readers.

Clair de Lune, Jetta Carleton’s last and thought to be lost (blown away in a 2003 tornado) novel finally came to print in 2012 and surely the world of literature is a better place for it.

This is a leisurely slow read that plays out like a 1940's black and white film, extremely written and cinemat
CoffeeBook Chick
For my full review, click here:

Uncovered fifty years later and published twenty years after the author's death, Clair de Lune is an absolutely gorgeous piece of writing, and it's the kind of book that made me wish I was back in college again, selecting this book to read for my thesis instead of what I did pick.

Jetta Carleton was the bestselling author of The Moonflower Vine in the early 1960s, which captured readers instantly. At some point, history seeme
Linda K
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2013 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book! I kind of wanted to live in that time and in that town (until I remembered that my big mouth, my non-Christian religion and my drinking habit would have made me an outcast).

The teacher in me was beside myself that Allen would be this careless. You are their teacher and you need to be friendly without being a friend. And you can NEVER think of them romantically!!!! When they are on the other side of the desk, they can be the best looking person ever but they still ugly. But th
Apr 27, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Miss Allen Liles has recently accepted a position to teach at a local junior college, located in the foothills of the Ozarks. On the eve of WWII, positions are scarce – especially when you are a woman. Luckily, Miss Liles is an instant favorite with her students, because of her love of poetry and exuberance towards literature. But her position is put in jeopardy when a more than friendly relationship develops between her and 2 of her students – George and
Nov 07, 2014 Rene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I originally picked this up because of its title. As someone who Loves the composition "Clair de Lune" by Debussy, I couldn't resist. This book is interesting, and the reasons I gave this book only three stars are because of typos and some plot holes. But I don't think this book was actually finished by Jetta Carleton. It was published post mortem. To that, I say this book is beautiful. The words move like poetry, or more importantly, "Clair de Lune." It gives a unique point of view of the time ...more
Jul 24, 2016 Joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable book. I loved the fact that this book was written about a period of time before World War II when this author had experienced these events and feelings as a young woman, but her manuscript was not brought to light until after her death in 1999. Highly recommend, especially for teachers to read.
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Jetta Carleton (1913-1999) was born in Holden, Missouri, and earned a master's degree at the University of Missouri. She worked as a schoolteacher, a radio copywriter in Kansas City, and a television advertising copywriter in New York City, and she ran a small publishing house with her husband in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
More about Jetta Carleton...

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“And maybe it wasn't his love that brought him back, but hers. How seductive being loved could be.” 5 likes
“The night spread wide around her, filled with its wonders.” 4 likes
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