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The Moonstoners

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"A gripping family story for those strong enough for the emotional journey."
-Kirkus Reviews

As a child back in 1953, Noel Trudeau flees with her family from their Louisiana home in the aftermath of a heinous murder, sparked by a secret that will shadow the Trudeaus for the rest of their lives. Ten years later, on the same day that President Kennedy is assassinated, she discovers she’s pregnant, forcing her to marry her abusive boyfriend.

As the surrounding nation is divided over race, equality, and the escalating war—and her brothers leave for service in Vietnam— Noel finds a safe place to hide from her husband in the black ghetto of the steel town of Langston, Indiana, under the watchful eye of an elderly, childless couple. But her sequestered existence is threatened when Ricky Ziemny, a sensitive artist, falls in love with her. Desperate to keep her past secrets hidden from him, she’s confronted by—and irresistibly drawn to—his protective older brother, Leon, who’s engaged to be married. As the country is increasingly torn apart at the seams, so are these two families. And when Noel’s long-kept secrets are about to unravel, she questions what it really means to love.

Set in the soul-searing 1960s when the quest for love as the supreme panacea is stilled by assassins’ bullets, THE MOONSTONERS captures the emotional complexities of families and relationships from the diverse perspectives of five interconnected lives.

370 pages, Paperback

First published July 20, 2019

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About the author

Barbara J. Dzikowski

4 books72 followers
Barbara J. Dzikowski is the author of a trilogy, including, THE MOONSTONERS (2019), THE LAST MOON BEFORE HOME (2020), and THE FIREWEED MOON (2023). She is also the author of SEARCHING FOR LINCOLN'S GHOST (2011).

Dzikowski graduated from Indiana University with a degree in philosophy and a Masters in counseling. After living on both U.S. coasts, she resides in her native Midwest.

Authors who have inspired her include Elizabeth Strout, Anne Tyler, Marcus Zusak, Carson McCullers, Nicole Krauss, and Donna Tartt.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
47 reviews3 followers
September 17, 2020
Well thought-out

This story was intricate, sad and emotional. I enjoyed the different perspectives, as well as how those five lives connected and intertwined in the end.

I could relate to the struggles of the main characters and what they went through. I felt sorry for Noel, and I wanted her to succeed.

And although I didn't think there could be a happy solution with all the secrets involved, the story took on quite a few unexpected twists that ensured that I had to rethink everything I thought I knew about love.

This is a brilliant story of heartache, love and the effects our choices have on our lives.
Profile Image for Kimber.
26 reviews7 followers
September 29, 2020
I want to recommend this book to my friends, but I haven't been able to bring myself to do it. Not because it isn't a great book, but because it feels too vulnerable. The Moonstoners is a secret I hold in my heart, one that I haven't shared for fear of people seeing who I truly am. I am all of these characters and they are all a piece of me. It is a story of truth, love, loss, sadness, anger, and joy. It is the story of untold lives, bearing all the scars we hide from the world. So to you, stranger, I recommend this book. I hope you are as touched and enthralled as I was.

Moonstoners aren't extraordinary, magical, awe-inspiring, or earth-shattering, but this book is. This quote, from the prologue, explains the characters amazingly. "Moonstoners were the discontents, the dreamers, the seekers of a newer world. Moonstoners were the ones who were broken by love, yet still they loved too much." This story is believable and honest. It shows the lives of people who could be our neighbors, friends, loved ones. I was gripped by their stories and felt their pain, their joy, their heartache.

Thank you, Ms. Dzikowski, for sharing your world with us. I look forward to reading the remaining books in the series. So far, this is the best giveaway I've won!
Profile Image for Florence Osmund.
Author 11 books111 followers
July 26, 2019
Moonstoners—given to stormy childhoods, born at night during complicated, unsettling times, pummeled then polished into opalescent shades. That’s the theme that runs through this intriguing novel by Barbara J. Dzikowski. It’s 1963 and teenager Noël is pregnant and regrettably married to the man who forced himself on her; her aunt commits suicide; her brothers go to war in Vietnam; and JFK is shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Complicate the story with a Black couple Noël befriends during racially turbulent times, illicit feelings Noël has for another man, relatives who don’t understand what she’s going through, and you’ve got a compelling book with so many twists and turns that (if you’re like me) you’ll find hard to put down.

“The Moonstoners” is a memorable, powerful story filled with emotional complexities that had me thoroughly engaged. It is a well-written, well-structured novel that brings back many memories (not all of which are good) of the uncertain sixties. Kudos to Dzikowski on this heart-stirring novel.
14 reviews
September 9, 2020
While “The Moonstoners” is the first installment of “The Moon Trilogy” by Barbara J. Dzikowski, I had the pleasure of reading sequel/second installment “The Last Moon Before Home” first. I didn’t even realize that there was a prequel to “The Last Moon Before Home” because it was so well-written and full of history, characters, and context that it was just as amazing as a stand-alone novel. When I found out this was a trilogy and that I had unknowingly skipped the first installment, I knew I had to go back read it, and Dzikowski did not disappoint.

In this novel, the reader goes back to where it all began; we meet the younger versions of the beloved characters in the second novel, witness the love triangle between Noel Trudeau and the Zeimny brothers and the consequences of their complicated relationships, while also gaining the haunting realization that while Noel is not physically present in the second novel of the series, she is still somehow at the center of everything.

I find myself so invested with the relationships the author creates between these characters; there is this level of depth, love, sadness, and raw human emotion—it makes them so incredibly believable and real. I also love the writing style/format she used in both books; the reader gets to see from multiple character perspectives; this not only keeps the plot moving at an exciting pace but I feel like we really get to know the characters individually this way and get to read a rich, rounded, full story.

I also have to say, not only is the author an amazing story teller, but she creates these gorgeously constructed sentences that give you no choice but to pause and appreciate how beautiful written language can truly be. She is so talented, I can’t praise her enough; the author has a gift and anything she writes is a joy to read. This book was an absolute page-turner that kept me up past my bedtime, but it was so worth it, I didn’t even care.
Profile Image for James W.
223 reviews13 followers
August 18, 2020
‘The Moonstoners,’ by Barbara J. Dzikowski, is a thoughtful, at times, heartbreaking novel that explores the ever-complicated themes of family amid the chaos and turmoil of the ’60s.

‘The Moonstoner’s’ follows the journey of one Noel Trudeau. Married to an abusive man following an unplanned pregnancy, Noel finds a haven in an African-American neighborhood and eventually befriends an older couple who, in turn, help her find the strength to reimagine her life.

What follows is a well-paced, thoughtful examination of the racially-turbulent sixties by way of Trudeau’s quest for emancipation. Along the way, families are both forged and torn apart as Noel’s forbidden love threatens nearly every facet of her life.

While ‘The Moonstoners’ is a work of fiction (in the sense that the characters are from the author’s imagination), there are times when Dzikowski's vividly translated narrative feels as authentic as an auto-biography—a testament to her skill as a writer. That, coupled with her vivid, refined prose, makes for an incredibly engaging read from front to back.

Envisioned as the first installment to her ‘Moon Trilogy,’ Dzikowski lays ample groundwork for Noel Trudeau’s journey (which continues in Pt. 2—’The Last Moon Before Home’) while also offering readers a satisfying sense of conclusion. Make no mistake, this is no fairy-tale, but Dzikowski rewards readers with a beautifully crafted story that is sure to elicit a wide range of conflicting emotions.
158 reviews5 followers
October 3, 2020
The Moonstoners is a moving book that touches on difficult issues in a clear yet humanistic manner. Noel Trudeau is a young woman who has secrets. Secrets that marred her as a child and that continue to influence and affect her well into adulthood. Two men, brothers who love the same woman, both with their own demons, and a country struggling through racism, violence, and the death of JFK.

This is a moving book – you will laugh, cry and so much more with the turn of each page. Noel is drawn to Ricky but ultimately it is Leon that stirs her heart. Leon rescues her and Ricky from Noel’s violent and abusive ex-husband only to find himself lost deeply in love with her. Their love is a forbidden love that will tear a family apart.

This is a well-written book that explores tensions of the time period, fears, and love. The characters are well developed and meaningful. Each character is important to the story and moves the story along at a steady pace. The revealing of the secrets Noel has endured and carried with her for a lifetime is well written.

I felt the pain, hurt, love, and fear of each character with each passing page. Descriptions are vivid and the dialog is realistic. The story moved at a steady pace and the plot and twists kept my attention. The ending was well executed leaving me with a desire to see their story to the end.

I look forward to reading the next book.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
Author 2 books21 followers
September 24, 2020
Set in the decade of the turbulence of the Sixties, this novel of love and loss is a moving tribute to the complexity of the human spirit. The main character, Noel Trudeau, escapes her abusive husband only to find herself caught in an untenable situation. She carries within her the secrets of her family’s past which paired with her fears of being discovered by the husband she has deserted, leaves her unable to trust. But when she meets a lonely, sensitive artist, she slowly begins to build a friendship with him. Though she realizes the artist, Ricky, is falling in love with her, she can’t return his love and feels she must break off their friendship.

When she is confronted by Ricky’s brother, Leon, about their relationship and her true feelings for his brother, it surprises them both when there is an immediate and undeniable attraction between the two. Will they follow their hearts knowing it will destroy Ricky and their family?

This is one of those novels that grabs readers from the beginning and pulls them into its intriguing storyline. Dzikowski is a gifted storyteller who is adept at balancing several plot lines and bringing them all to a satisfying fruition. This being the first in a series, readers are left eager to get to the next book. An intriguing tale that will stay with you long after the last line is read.
September 11, 2020
"The Moonstoners" by Barbara Dzitowski, is a thought-provoking novel that follows the trials and tribulations of life in the 1960s.

Throughout the novel, the characters stories are intermingled together with the world going on around them - the Vietnam War, the anti-war movement and hippies, racial tensions, the assassinations of JFK and MLK Jr, and much more. Dzitowski has a way of weaving a fictional tale of love, heartbreak, loss, abuse, and more, while still depicting the world as it was.

This book was hard to put down. Dzitowski portrayed the lives of the characters so eloquently, that I felt I was standing right beside them. Noel leaving her abusive husband with her toddler in tow to find a better life. The Ziemny brothers and the love triangle they found themselves in. The secrets that Noel had held inside for so long. The caring black couple who make Noel and her son a part of their family.

The main theme of this book is love and what it means to love too much. I look forward to reading more from this author and the rest of the trilogy.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
166 reviews
October 18, 2020
The Moonstoners is full of complex characters, family secrets, heartbreak, the many kinds of love, and historical drama. Taking place primarily in the turbulent 1960s, the book follows several narrators as their lives unfold. I always enjoy seeing a story from different perspectives and this book is no exception.

I really enjoyed the way the author portrayed the complexity within each of the characters. Each person is multi-faceted and each faces their own challenges. The stories all circle around the main character, Noël. We first glimpse Noël as a child, fleeing from some terrifying event. As her story unfolds more characters join her and we are gifted with their perspective on concurrent events.

The 1960s plays its own role in this novel. A living time period full of tension from the Vietnam War, racial rioting, assassinations, and the hippie movement. A reminder that in some way we are all influenced by our time period.
Profile Image for Celeste.
758 reviews19 followers
November 11, 2020
“The Moonstoners” written by Barbara J. Dzikowski is the first book in The Moon trilogy. With this amazing story the author wants to transmit that love is always the answer. Set in America in a time of great changes as it was the 1960s, the book tells the story of Noël Trudeau, a woman with a very difficult life. Escaping from her abusive husband, she will find refuge in Indiana, but life has more pleasant, as well as unpleasant, surprises for her.
In a context of division regarding war, race and equality, the author explores the nature of love, family relationships, loss, grief and dreams from different perspectives and points of view. The construction and description of the characters and their stories are what makes this book so gripping and undownputable. It is a narrative full of emotions that still resonates in my mind and heart long after I finished reading its last page. I really loved this novel and I strongly recommend it.
Profile Image for Elaine.
204 reviews13 followers
August 24, 2020
Noel Trudeau leaves her Louisiana home with her family after a heinous murder shadowed by a secret that will impact the rest of their lives. Ten years later she is pregnant and forced to marry her abusive boyfriend. The novel depicts the time of a divided nation and she finds a safe place to hide in the black ghettos of Indiana. The story takes place in the 1960s and takes you on a trip through her life of hidden secrets and the aftermath of these secrets on her life. The novel starts in 1972 and makes its way back and forth telling her story. The story is heartbreaking in its account of family turmoil amidst a very trying time in history. This is a fictional story which delves nicely into this time period and makes you often wonder if it is in fact a true story. Moonstoners is emotional, page-turning and powerful. I look forward to reading the next part of this series.
Profile Image for Mia C..
732 reviews20 followers
November 11, 2020
“The Moonstoners” is the first book in the Moon trilogy, written by Barbara J. Dzikowski. This novel has a very good plot that got me reading at the edge of my seat more than once. It is about a woman who after discovering that she is pregnant is forced to marry his abusive boyfriend, but as soon as she can, she looks for a way to escape from him, hiding in the black ghetto where she is about to find another type of love.
Characters are very well described and developed. The author did a great job with them, especially with Noel, making the readers empathise with her. I certainly enjoyed this read and I am eager to keep on reading the next in the trilogy. I recommend this novel because it deals with different types of relationships and families, making the reader see things from other perspectives.
Profile Image for Santiago Flores.
549 reviews4 followers
November 12, 2020
This story is set in the past, in the 60s, when life was different from nowadays. It tells the story of Noel, a woman who gets pregnant and this pushes her to marry his not-so-good boyfriend. Later, she feels the need to escape this reality she has with her now abusive husband and finds a place to hide in a black ghetto.
This novel, called The Moonstoners, written by B. Dzikowski, is a novel that shows differences regarding couples and families, portraying clearly that decade. The author did a great job with the writing and creating a plot that attracted my attention from beginning to end. Moreover, characters were perfectly developed, making them really believable. I recommend reading this because it is an enjoyable read.
5 reviews
October 1, 2019
I really loved this novel, set in the 1960s, because the characters (five different point-of-views) were so strong and well-drawn that I could really get into each of their heads and feel their struggles. The novel takes on some really big themes, including race, grief and loss, and war, and views them through the unique (and often contradictory) lens of each character. A provocative and compelling read and I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for gj indieBRAG.
1,548 reviews70 followers
September 9, 2020
We are proud to announce that THE MOONSTONERS by Barbara J. Dzikowski is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells readers that this book is well worth their time and money!
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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