Norelle Done's Reviews > Moonlight and Oranges

Moonlight and Oranges by Elise Stephens
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Feb 21, 12

Read in January, 2012

Moonlight and Oranges is, in simple terms, a modern-day retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth. Lorona and Kestrin meet at a Seattle Halloween party, and go through a whirlwind romance over a couple of days that culminates in a quick wedding. Sounds crazy, right? Well the book tells a more complicated story, about how Kestrin has experienced foretelling dreams (including one that vaguely tells him about the woman who is his true love), Lorona’s shy and trusting nature that turns when friends give her more detail about Kestrin’s past relationships and the foreboding dream. Lorona makes a mistake that breaks Kestrin’s trust in her, sending the couple on a painful and alarming journey that will end their fateful relationship forever, or maybe bring them back together …

So here goes with my review:
Plot: Elise follows the Cupid and Psyche story loosely for her book, but the plot overall is engaging and interesting. The story flows and although there are one or two moments of confusion for the reader (or for me at least, with trying to grasp why things happen a certain way), it is generally a pleasant read. It follows the classic plot style, with exposition, conflict, a climax, and resolution.

Characters: I felt like more could have been done with this portion of the book. Both Lorona and Kestrin, the two main characters, seemed to only be partially developed as characters, and I wanted to know more about them. For instance, what kind of background does Lorona have that would allow her to trust a guy whose past is full of other women, and trust him enough to marry him after knowing him only a few days? Or why Kestrin is so suddenly distrustful of Lorona after she reads his journal, but he still speaks to his mother – who stole it a week before. Basically, there was so much to the story that could have been expanded and enriched if the characters had been developed more.

Setting: Based in Seattle and California, the setting is pretty straightforward. Elise does a beautiful job describing a rainy night, and the scene for the climax of the book. Setting is not distracting in Moonlight and Oranges, and it adds fullness to the story to make it feel more real despite the strange circumstances.

Originality: This section is mostly moot because the story is inspired by an ancient myth, however I felt that Elise did a great job updating the tale and bringing modern reality into it. The loosely based origins really flourished into something new with this book.

Moonlight and Oranges is a great book for young adults, and adults would also enjoy the story. Although there were some pieces to the story that just seemed too coincidental or ‘out there’, (their shotgun wedding, the sudden depth of distrust that Kestrin has when his wife reads his journal – granted, without permission, but still…) I generally really enjoyed the story. I also have to admit that Elise’s work with the climax literally had me hanging on to the last page, biting my nails with anxiety, and experiencing a much more rapid heartbeat than normal! Even if the beginning of the book is a bit slow, but way to fast (for the couple’s relationship, that is), it draws you in and gets you hooked.

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