Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Moonlit Cage” as Want to Read:
The Moonlit Cage
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Moonlit Cage

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  878 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Set in 1850s Afghanistan, and moving from there to India and London, Linda Holeman's second novel is an epic story of one woman's escape from persecution and search for a better life. Darya is the beautiful, passionate fugitive escaping a vicious husband and the wrath of her remote Afghani village. When she stumbles across a mysterious young stranger in the mountains whils ...more
Paperback, 526 pages
Published January 2nd 2006 by Headline (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Moonlit Cage, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Moonlit Cage

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,627)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This is the first book I've read by Linda Holeman and it was good enough to make me want to read more of her work. I love books that help me to learn about other times and other places: in The Moonlit Cage, Holeman introduces us to life in 19th century Afghanistan. Not being an expert in Afghan history or culture, I have no idea how accurate her descriptions are, but the book seems very well-researched to me. A glossary of unfamiliar Dari and Pashto words is included at the back of the book, but ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Belinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why don't more people know about Linda Holeman?! This is a terrific follow up to her earlier book, "The Linnet Bird". It picks up about 15 years later, following the story of an Afghan girl who is cast out of her village as cursed. She finds ways to survive, and ends up the traveling companion of David Ingram, whose mother is the main character of "The Linnet Bird."

While I really liked "The Linnet Bird", I found the prostitution scenes bordering on vulgar, and at times the heroine was a little o
Mar 09, 2015 Evelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was fascinated by the setting, time frame and main character in this story. Specifically how Darya thought, her beliefs, and her internal struggle with those beliefs as she made life altering decisions in a quest for safety and freedom. It is a long book, but I zoomed through it, could not stop turning the pages.
Farhana Faruq
Nov 27, 2008 Farhana Faruq rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It started out so well! However I thought the ending was rather disappointing, almost like a whole different author decided to conclude the wonderful story. Overall, a great novel - worth the time.
Apr 15, 2010 Sgrandine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a page turning fantastic read! I would recommend it strongly if you like a heartwarming tale of one woman's strength and courage living in a very difficult time and country.
Aug 12, 2011 Dana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is set in the mid 1800s in Afghanistan, India and England. Darya is born a Muslim Tajik in Afghanistan. She is taught to be obedient and know her place in life (women are seen as little more than slaves). She does try but is curious and intelligent and consequently is continually physically abused by her father. Her father's second wife curses her and her life might as well be over as the village shuns her and she has no prospects whatsoever.

Her father sells her into marriage with a n
Tara Chevrestt
Wonderful story. I could not put it down. Darya is an Afghani girl and the book follows her life from childhood with an abusive father to a marriage with an abusive man and then her slavery to an abusive Englishman. Note I have used the word abusive 3 times. I gave this engrossing book only 4 stars instead of 5 because there is not a moment of happiness or pleasure in this young girls life until page 475. How many beatings and degradations can a woman really handle? Truly, a heart wrenching tale ...more
I am adding Linda Holeman to my list of favorite authors! Once again, she took me on an ride through India, Afghanistan and England. As in The Linnet Bird the ride was not always a pleasant and scenic. But it was real. I loved the main character Darya! Her journey from the beginning to end was one that was fraught with many challenges- including a curse! Yet she always believed that she was destined for more.

The return of some characters from The Linnet Bird made The Moonlit Cage: A Novel a sat
Cathy Graham
Jul 10, 2007 Cathy Graham added it
Recommends it for: those who enjoy romance and historical fiction
This was my favourite of all the Linda Holeman books I have read so far.

I found it fascinating to learn about the history of Afghanistan, a country I don't know much about.

I enjoyed the exciting story of Darya, a Muslim Tajik woman struggling to endure her arranged marriage but wanting more of life. She is intelligent and outspoken in a time when women have hardly any rights. Her strength and outspokenness gets her into trouble again and again but is also key to her surviving her circumstances.

Harj D
Jan 30, 2016 Harj D rated it really liked it
Books like 'The Moonlit Cage' are something quite extraordinary. The book is narrated by Darya, a young Muslim woman from Afghanistan who opens the first pages of the story by talking briefly about how she is considered wicked due to her character and life choices. She leaves the reader with the question, "Am I truly wicked?" before beginning, a question which she asks the reader in the final pages once she has given her life account.

We are taken back in time to when Darya is a child, the scene
Jenny Jeffries
Mar 10, 2008 Jenny Jeffries rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah! Jem, Magda
This was one of those unexpectedly good books, the sort that come along every fifty or so, and I couldn't put it down. It was downright raw at times, and I wouldn't have let my poor heroine suffer quite so much, but life IS like that. Set in Afghanistan during the Victorian times, it's a real insight into life as a woman growing up in that patriarchal society, and how she finally moves to freedom, of sorts. WONDERFUL.
Jan 07, 2009 Mae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty, thoughtful book. ending was a little cheesy. I enjoyed the descriptions of life in Afganistan.
♥ Marlene♥
Apr 01, 2008 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it it was amazing
Love this author! Can't wait for her next book.
Jul 21, 2012 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books!
Trudee Hunter
Feb 25, 2014 Trudee Hunter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first line of "The Moonlit Cage," was the reason I picked up this book.

It reads, "Ï have always been told I was wicked." These few words drew me in for multiple reasons but if I thought this story was about Darya's wickedness, I would have been quite wrong. Yes, there is wickedness in this book. There are the contrasts of love and hate and there is much about the strangeness, diversity, and sometimes inexplicable practises of cultures a world away from our own.

Written in 1856, Darya's story
Mar 04, 2009 Elizabeth_agd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth_agd by: KPL Books & Breakfast
This novel provided me with an understanding of Afghanistan and India and the life of women, arranged marriages and culture from the 1850s. I enjoyed watching the protagonist, Darya, survive in a multitude of situations, mainly beyond her control, and journey into womanhood.

Coincidentally I had also borrowed the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" and it was about current-day USA efforts in Afghanistan. Not to spoil the movie so I will use basic thoughts here, however, the lack of follow-through on the
Sep 25, 2009 rabbitprincess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like strong female characters, rich description
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Chelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Jo
Aug 19, 2015 Mary Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I give this book 5 stars, I feel ambivalent about the ending. Though the book is rich with descriptions of scenery, emotions, and characters, the protagonist (despite her "power"), remains disappointingly dependent on men to determine her fate. I realize that some of that is cultural and some just the time and setting, but she is supposed to be a woman of unusual spunk and strength. I enjoyed it! Thanks, again, nehocs!
Jun 12, 2012 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-stories, 1800
This book kept me completely involved until Darya moved in with Mr. Bull.
I found this part slow and horrible. I was continuously waiting for David Ingram to come and rescue her. Her time there was dragged out too long. When she finally is rescued by David, the ending is rushed right along. After living through her misery for so long with Mr.Bull, I really needed and wanted to hear of more good times, love, and their marriage with David to get rid of all those terrible pages I read before.
Her lif
Nov 01, 2009 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

So much sadness

This is a very well written book,however there is so much sadness in this book that it makes you wonder if this author is as sad. The character in this book is very strong young lady. She has to deal with so much pain and sorrow and shame,it is a wonder she could still hold her head up after it was all said and done. If you are looking for a happy book this is not the one to read. However, it will make you hope things will get better for the young lady. One cannot help but admire
When I picked this one up, I didn't realize it was a follow up of sorts to The Linnet Bird, so that was a nice surprise. Both books have their unsavory characters, strong female characters, and period details that are interesting. I liked both books, but I think I like this one better. I enjoyed following Darya on her journey, even if it was frustrating how she was limited by the time period and cultures. But I still appreciated a peek at life in these various communities in the 1840s-1850s and ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm conflicted about this book. I really enjoyed a lot of it, but there were a few problems that dragged it down a star or two.

I've read several books set in Afghanistan lately. They've mostly been historically accurate fiction or completely non-fiction. I'm not sure where I came across this one, so I wasn't aware of the genre when I started reading. It began the way most of the others have - showing how much it sucks to be a girl/woman in Afghanistan. This one was set in the mid-1800's, I belie
Apr 04, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Darya lives in a village near Tabul, Afghanistan during the 1840’s. She has a questioning mind which often causes her trouble as women are expected to be subservient to their husbands and satisfied with their place in society. Darya grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories of her life which began in Russia and eventually ended in Afghanistan. The stories encouraged her to aspire to an interesting and eventful life. Darya’s father arranges a marriage for her to a man from a nomadic tribe. H ...more
Jun 25, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I really didn't know much about Afghanistan in the 1800s, so this book introduced me to a very different way of life. Darya is a young Muslim girl whose life takes her in unexpected directions, often resulting in her being forced into abusive situations because she has no rights or power. A lot of really bad things happen to Darya, so the moments of love and connection that she finds with a young Englishman were definitely a high point of the story for me.

Jan 24, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know I'm a sucker for a great opening line... "I have always been told I was wicked." That's how Linda Holeman began the epic journey of a young Afghan girl in the 1800's. I really enjoyed the cultural insights from Afghanistan, through India, and on to England. Darya's life was not a carefree life by any means, but her strength (along with the memory of her strong grandmother) carried her through a lot. Hefty book, hefty story, but worth the read.
Richard Moss
May 24, 2016 Richard Moss rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group, 2016
I should preface this review by saying this was the choice of the book club I belong to - so read out of compulsion rather than desire.

And I know you should never judge etc etc, but the cover was pretty appalling.

Nevertheless when I began reading The Moonlit Cage, it showed at least some promise.

It was well-researched - although it wears that heavily at times - and not badly written.

It did explore some cultures - a Tajik community in an Afghan village, and a nomadic tribe - that were intriguing.
I think this is a really good historical novel. It seems very well researched as to era, place and culture. I wanted to get my atlas out and follow Darya & the Englishman from the plains of Afghanistan to the various cities they traveled through, and down the Indus River to Bombay…

I was fascinated to learn that 'India', as we know it to be called, was once called 'Hindustan' or 'Hendustan', with an 'e', as it was referred to in the book, I think… Making it yet another '…stan'. I find this s
Apr 29, 2015 Falina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love books like this, saga-types that go through the life of a woman where she meets hardship and etc. but ultimately triumphs, with the backdrop of some interesting historical period. It was extra interesting because it was set in Afghanistan in the nineteenth century, which I think is a fairly unique choice of location. However, I cynically think the way everything resolves itself at the end of the book is very improbable.
Sep 06, 2009 Vivian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books that I have ever read. Completely engrossing, well written and with characters that are so real and that you grow to love. The Moonlit Cage captured my imagination night after night, and it was a journey I will not soon forget. I can't wait to get my hands on "The Linnet Bird" and wait expectantly for her next novel. Very highly recommend.
Jul 23, 2012 Betty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the best information I have ever read on Afghanistan, Ms. Holeman brings life in that turbulent and mysterious country alive for us. I also enjoyed the portion of the story set in India but I wasn't so thrilled with the portion after the heroine reaches England. Still it's an excellent read and has a compelling and satisfactory ending. I can heartily recommend it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 54 55 next »
  • Der Venuspakt (Licht & Schatten, #1)
  • Sternschnuppen
  • The Last Kestrel
  • All My Sisters
  • Heart of Coal
  • Für die Krone (Magierdämmerung, #1)
  • Becoming Scarlett
  • Heartbroke Bay
  • The Abyssinian Proof (Kamil Pasha, #2)
  • The Aviary Gate
  • The Heart Does Not Bend
  • A Singular Hostage
  • How to Draw and Paint Fantasy Architecture
  • The White Mary
  • Call of the Kiwi
  • Entblößt (Colours of Love, #2)
  • A Proper Education for Girls
  • Japanese Cooking - Contemporary & Traditional: Simple, Delicious, and Vegan
Linda Holeman is the author of fourteen books of fiction. Her work includes two adult collections of literary short stories, Flying to Yellow and Devil’s Darning Needle, as well as the historic novels The Linnet Bird, The Moonlit Cage, In a Far Country, The Saffron Gate, The Lost Souls of Angelkov, and The Devil on Her Tongue. Her young adult body of work consists of a collection of short stories, ...more
More about Linda Holeman...

Share This Book