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Shadow of the Moon

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  2,567 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Part One Of Two Parts

The author of THE FAR PAVILIONS returns us once again to the vast, intoxicating romance of India under the British Raj. SHADOW OF THE MOON is the story of Winter de Ballesteros, a beautiful English heiress come home to her beloved India. It is also the tale of Captain Alex Randall, her protector, who aches to possess her. Forged in the fires of a war t

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Paperback, 803 pages
Published June 12th 1980 by Bantam Books (first published 1957)
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Rebecca by Daphne du MaurierKatherine by Anya SetonThe Far Pavilions by M.M. KayeTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Gems from the Past
10th out of 334 books — 353 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
366th out of 5,263 books — 20,162 voters


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Community Reviews

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Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
4.5 stars. Great historical epic, with love and hate, treachery and courage, set in India during the Sepoy Rebellion in the 1850s.

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Lucknow, India

M.M. Kaye takes her time setting up the story, telling about the parents and grandparents of the main character, a half-English, half-Spanish girl with the unlikely name of Winter. Winter spends her first six years contentedly living in India, but when her parents die, she is sent to live with her English relatives. It's not a particularly happy situatio
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Misfit
Star crossed lovers, the British Raj & India, what more can you want in a book? This was just an amazing book. Once the author set up her characters and story line things just cooked along -- be prepared for the last 200 pages, because you will not surface for air until it's done! We have Winter, a wealthy heiress born and orphaned in India and sent to England to be raised by mostly uncaring relatives(except for the great-grandfather). When her great-grandfather dies, she is sent at the age ...more
Hannah
I can't do justice to a book like this. Thoughts and observations on an epic, sweeping saga can't be encapsulated into a 2-3 paragraph review saying how wonderful the characters, plot, writing, etc. was. Yes, I write these kind of reviews all the time, but for a book like this, it's virtually impossible.

So, I'll begin and end with this:
If Gone with the Wind was Margaret Mitchell's love letter to the old South, then Shadow of the Moon is M.M. Kaye's to historic India. Under Kaye's pen, the unfold
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Averil
One of my all time favourite books! I fell in love with this novel as a 14 year-old and have spent the last nearly two DECADES trying to remember the name of it. Finally, thanks to Goodreads, I was able to dig up the title, and then I scored myself a treasured rare copy!

At last reunited with M.M. Kaye's epic masterpiece, I have been spellbound and enthralled for the last week, hating every minute spent away from my book. This tale of love, courage & survival set in India during the bloodthir
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Cindy Newton
I love this book! It has been a favorite of mine for years, and this re-reading certainly hasn't changed that. M. M. Kaye spent a great deal of her life in India, and does (in my opinion) a powerful job of capturing the essence of that country--the sights, the sounds, the scents. You can feel the heat baking your skin, hear the noise and bustle of the colorful bazaar in the streets of the city, see the heat waves shimmering over the dusty streets, the exotic foliage and animals--it all comes ali ...more
Anna
This book is mostly set in India as the 19th century Sepoy Rebellion against the British gathers pace and attacks with devastating results.

I enjoyed parts of it to a 4 star level, particularly Sabrina’s heartbreaking story, and Winter’s neglected childhood in England, her long journey back to India, her new life there with the awful Conway, and her dramatic escape as the Rebellion took savage hold.

So why only a 3 star rating? There was plenty of ‘he thought, she thought’ between our would-be-lov
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Hana
Three and a half stars. Historical romance set in Hindustan during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. M.M. Kaye was born in Simla and lived much of her life in India. She was a close friend and mentor of Paul Scott whose magnificent novel, The Jewel in the Crown, covers the events leading up to Partition and Independence, some ninety years after the Rebellion and its bloody aftermath. M.M Kaye writes lyrically of India and her descriptive passages are splendid. Shadow of the Moon is also full of insi ...more
Rachel
When I first read "Shadow of the Moon" as a young girl freshly enamored of M M Kaye's writing and my first encounter with her work in "The Far Pavilions". I was both disappointed and relieved at the reduced scale. Although it weighs in at 400+ pages (depending on your addition) it does not touch the level of geo-political rhetoric that Far Pavilions some times fell into. But with characters that are just as strong and clearly developed it is a much more, to me at any rate, enjoyable read.
I must
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Angela Blount

A sweeping romantic epic. Somewhat reminiscent of Wuthering Heights in it's charming setting description...and in the use of weepy, waifish women as catalysts to the overarching plot.

While I spent the first half of the book having great difficulty sympathizing with the young, delusional, and allegedly enchanting protagonist, Winter, I felt compelled to keep reading for a number of reasons. Not the least of which involved a fascination with Captain Alex Randall. His staunch honor code was nearly
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Marquise
I have very mixed feelings on finishing this book; on one hand, I liked the storyline with all its adventures, twists and turns, which overall made for an enjoyable read and often not easy to predict, for Kaye has a decent mastery of storytelling that keeps you interested despite the length of the novel. And then, there's the characterisation of the protagonist, who's one of the most interesting leading male characters I've encountered in historical fiction recently, with flashes that reminded m ...more
Dorcas
Some reviewers call this book a love story. But that is such a small part of it unless you want to classify the love of India as part of that love story. In which case, yes, it is most definitely a love story. But as far as romance, it's there, but is not the crux. First and foremost, this is a story of the uprising of India against the feringhi (foreigners) and here lies the turmoil: on which side does one belong when one belongs on neither side and yet both? And can one survive it?

I found this
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Diane Lynn
Just as good on reread, deserves every one of those five stars. The Sepoy Rebellion lasted for about a year and marks the start of the British Raj. With the uprising and a sweet love story plus so many characters to know and love (or hate) this is one of my favorite books. I'm at a loss to write a proper review. But do yourself a favor and read the complete long version, not the shortened original 1956 version!
Alice
Jun 25, 2009 Alice rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alice by: Rachael and Willow
A group of older friends I had when I was 16 introduced me to M.M. Kaye. The first book of hers I read was Shadow of the Moon. Due to school commitments I think it took me almost a week and I hated every moment I wasn't with this book.

From the very beginning this book enchanted me. It is filled with the very essence of India and its people. For years Alex was the epitome of everything that was perfect in a man- in some ways he still is. He does, at any rate, remain one of my all time favorites
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Molly
i don't care if there's cheesy bits, i must've read this book through at least eight times, and always pick it up to look at on the rare occasion when i can't sleep. set in colonial india, there's riots and history and violence and, yes, a ridiculously romantic main plot. i am not ashamed. i love this book.
Lindz
This is a very sweaty and pungent novel. Romantic historical drama at it's best and how it should be, like an over ripe plum. Though slightly profic ( not sure if that is a word???) Young Winter de Ballesteros with the warm ivory skin and blue black hair dreams of exotic India. A nice contrast between the cool up right cold England with the more colourful blinding Inida, yes I got that one, yet Kaye did drop in some Spanish blood to make her fiery and emotional against the stoic Lieutenant Alex ...more
Juliana
Oct 04, 2009 Juliana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, and anyone
Recommended to Juliana by: Auntie Huhu
This book was different than any kind of book I had ever read. It was utterly captivating the whole way through. The ending was very satisfying, though it was quite broad.

The characters literally jump off the page, and are so realistic it's sometimes hard to believe this novel is a work of fiction. How unfair that these characters cannot come to life in human form!
The lonely, innocent Winter. The drunken, cruel, cunning Conway. The wonderful, intelligent, hard-working Alex. The naive, loyal Lo
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Carol Jones
This is my favorite novel ever, and I have read it more than eight times. It is an "escape" love affair for me. It is a piece of historical fiction. I love it from cover to cover. M.M. Kaye describes India so thoroughly and beautifully, you feel that you have lived there yourself. It is the story of the uprising of Indian sepoys against the East India Trading Company (and basically all foreigners), and the events that led up to that catastrophic event in the year 1853, 100 years before I was bor ...more
Leslie
I remember this! It showed up in my Updates feed here on GR because Hannah is reading it and I thought I remembered it after reading just the title but was sure after reading the little blurb. I used to have a little collection of M.M.Kaye I started back in the 80's after a knee injury kept me off my feet for weeks. It all began with The Far Pavilions of course and that led to a mad scramble to read all her books set in INdia. (That whole India love affair began in 1979 with the Secret Garden) I ...more
Linda Cohen
A sweeping epic story using the backdrop of the rebellion of the Sepoys (or Indian soldiers) in India against the rule of the East India Company.

I spent more time with this book than any other so far this year. It was a big ol' thing that required it's own bag to transport it to and fro from work so I could read it on the bus and at lunch. Good thing it was so engrossing or it would have been easy to hate this book. I really can't improve on what people have already said so if you enjoy historic
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Kathy
Wonderful story and a good background history of the Sepoy Mutiny in India.
Highly recommended to all my friends.
Joan
The first time I read this book, it was a Doubleday Book Club copy from the 1950's that belonged to my mother. I was hooked. The backdrop of history was as much a character of the story as Winter and Capt. Alex Randall were. M.M. Kaye blended history and fiction with such exquisite care, it was hard to separate them. I read this book numerous times, and kept it for myself until my mother found a copy at a used book store (with a dust jacket) and took hers back. Later, I discovered that the Doubl ...more
Maggie
I am not done yet, but I already like it so much I am giving a good review! So much historical fiction these days is more bodice ripping than anything else, but M.M. Kaye's books are intelligent and detailed; I feel like I know a lot about the Raj from reading this, and her views are so balances I can't decide if I am for the British or the Hindus. Plus, a little love thrown in never hurts. Well-written and epic. I highly recommend!
Susan
I've read a lot of books (a lot!!!!) and this is my absolute, all-time, read-it-25+-times book.

It's a love story set in India during the last days of the British East India Company. The main characters, the story, the writing, the history is just breathtaking. I have literally read this book cover to cover more than 20 times.

It's out of print, but if you can find it...buy it and cherish it.
Dana Fallentine
I have to say this is my new favorite book. I don't know how it is that I haven't read it until now. M.M. Kaye has written a masterpiece of a novel. I loved the romance, historical fiction (British-India war), and her amazing use of the English language.
Susan Bybee
Wow. Words fail me. Epic storytelling at its best. A love story in the midst of the Sepoy Rebellion, and so much more.
Cirtnecce
So what is my idea of a historical romance?…..Have you read a book perhaps little known called “Shadow of the Moon” by MM Kaye?

Ms Kaye was born in colonial India in 1908 and spent her early childhood and much of her early married life in the same country. Born into a family that for generations had served the British Raj, her love for the country and her people was clear in her writings. Though after India’s independence, she would travel the world with her husband, Major-General Goff Hamilton o
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Michelle Dee
5 Stars

Shadow of the Moon is a daunting book to review simply because of its epic size and nature. I haven't read anything like it. It reminds me of those old movies I love - Casablanca, It Happened One Night, etc. It had that same classic, romantic, timeless feel about it.

M.M. Kaye is, quite obviously, a very established storyteller. She was the objective narrator for this tale. I literally felt as though I was sitting by a fire on a cold winter's day as she spun an epic, romantic, thrilling t
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Julie
I picked this book up in a charity shop and thought it would be a good read having seen the drama series 'The Far Pavilions'.

It has taken me nearly two weeks to read and it is a fantastic book from start to finish.
It is set in India leading up to the mutiny of the Indian Army in 1857 The story starts further back in time to show the lead up to the Mutiny and the reasons behind its occurrence.

It is very much fact based as the Author M M Kaye was born in India and she had very strong ties with
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K.l.
MM Kaye has to be one of my all time favourite authors! She captures the spirit and the ideals of Raj and pre-Mutiny India so well that one can almost smell the scents and see the dirt, danger, beauty and magic of early colonial India. Winter de Ballesteros is initially a rather annoying character, and while you always know that she will end up with the hero, the poor couple go through some truly terrible times. For me, the most amazing thing in this book was the descriptions of the actual Mutin ...more
Jenny
Shadow of the Moon is another of Kaye's sweeping historicals, following the lives of several individuals caught up in the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Winter, the daughter of a Spanish aristocrat and the granddaughter of an English earl, was born in India and longs to return. She gets her chance when her great-grandfather dies and she's sent off to marry a commissioner there - a man many years her senior.

The grand account of Winter's journey to India and life there is intermingled with much discussio
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M. M. Kaye (Mary Margaret) was born in India and spent her early childhood and much of her early-married life there. Her family ties with the country are strong: her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served the British Raj. After India's independence, her husband, Major-General Goff Hamilton of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (the famous Indian Army regiment featured in The Far Pav ...more
More about M.M. Kaye...
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“Common sense will nearly always stand you in better stead than a slavish adherence to the conventions.” 41 likes
“Because men are sentimental over women they will throw away military advantages, and hesitate and weigh the chances of failure when attack is their best or only hope, and lose their opportunity because they "have to think of the women and children". Men who would otherwise not dream of surrendering will make terms with an enemy in return for the safety of a handful of women. If a man is killed, it is an accident of war; but if a woman or a child is killed it is a barbarous murder and a hundred lives - or a thousand - are sacrificed to avenge it. It is only a man like John Nicholson who has the courage to write, and mean it, that the safety of "women and children in some crises is such a very minor consideration that it ceases to be a consideration at all". If only more men thought like that you could all stay in Lunjore and be damned to you!” 0 likes
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