A gripping and emotional novel that will leave you wondering about the neighbors next door...
On a cold January night, Sharon Lemke heads outside to see a lunar eclipse when she notices something odd at the house behind her backyard. Through her neighbor's kitchen window, she sees what appears to be a little girl washing dishes late at night. But the Fleming family doesn't have a child that age, and even if they did, why would she be doing housework at this late hour?
It would be easy for Sharon to just let this go, but when eighteen-year-old Niki, a former foster child, comes to live with Sharon, she notices suspicious activity at the Flemings' house as well. When calling social services doesn't result in swift action, the two decide to investigate on their own.
People sometimes ask where authors get their ideas and oftentimes we haven't a clue. Usually it's an amalgam of our own experiences and that of others, combined with our imagination. For The Moonlight Child I can give a more definitive answer: it began when I read a newspaper article about a local family. By all appearances they were like everyone else, but unbeknownst to relatives, friends, and neighbors, they had a shocking secret, one that led them to being charged with federal crimes, and eventually, prison.
Years later, that article planted a seed for my own fictional story. I hope you enjoy the The Moonlight Child.
I was intrigued by the premise, but underwhelmed by how the story turned out. The tags on Goodreads don't feel accurate to the actual story (thriller, mystery, horror, suspense) - there's no drama or spooky stuff, just a domestic case you'd see anywhere on the news. It felt like a story told by a social worker, except without any commentary about the flawed system because things work out incredibly easily. According to the author’s review, she got the idea from reading a newspaper article about a local family—this provides some context for how her book was executed, a rehashing of these types of news stories without any thought-provoking critique or narrative twists.
The writing does a lot of telling and not showing, and sometimes over-explains things (i.e. a character does a common gesture, then the writing explains what the gesture means). The antagonist is a caricature of an awful narcissist, and while plenty of these types of people do exist in real life, I question what is the point of including her POV if we’re not going to see anything beyond her reprehensible qualities we already see from other characters’ POVs. I did like the main character and the young woman she takes in; they have a sweet grandma/granddaughter relationship, and I was looking forward to seeing a thriller book that features an older woman protagonist. Unfortunately, the older woman was reduced to the background during the momentous final parts of the book - what was the point of having her be the main character first introduced then? Overall, the book lacked the writing skills and interesting narrative needed to keep me engaged.
Where do I begin to review The Moonlight Child? I started reading this book near bedtime (BIG MISTAKE) and couldn't put it down until I finished at 4 a.m. It's that good.
As much as I loved this book and wish it wasn't over, nothing I've written seems to do it justice.
Not only is this a very intriguing story, but it's very well plotted, moving along quickly but not so quickly as to feel rushed. The characters are so real and well rounded that I wouldn't have been surprised if they had spoken directly to me or I'd met them on my street.
I loved the interactions between Sharon and Niki so very much - their relationship was both unexpected and wonderful. I also identified with their doggedness once they felt they were on the trail of something not quite right.
The Moonlight Child is filled with so many feels that I'm sure you'll find yourself rooting for several of the characters while wanting certain others get their comeuppance sooner rather than later.
All I really want you to know is that if you like to read, this book is for you. Period. It's for you. Take a chance, pick it up or download a sample and meet The Moonlight Child.
3.5⭐ Something strange is going on at the Flemings' house. The neighbors Sharon and Niki have been seeing a little girl at night, but the Flemings said they only have a son.
That sounds creepy and mysterious. My expectation was perhaps overboard going in. This isn't a horror nor a thriller. I guess you can classify it as a mystery, which was revealed pretty early on and there wasn't any surprising element after that. I did enjoy the characters, and story as it is, but wish for a little more oomph.
This is my first book by Karen McQuestion and I hope to read more from her. The performance by Stacey Glemboski was very good and I really enjoyed this audiobook.
Thank you Karen McQuestion and Netgalley for a copy of this audiobook.
Honestly after a few chapters I just skipped to the end because it is literally the most basic predictable story. I’m surprised it’s rated so highly because there is not anything unique about it. I went back to skim in between to make sure I was right and it was just so ridiculous. Should you be able to say when an ending will be by the second chapter? Not even really well written. Such a disappointment
This audiobook is so satisfying and checks every box in terms of its story and quality of the writing. It was so compelling!! With the narrator, Stacey Glemboski, well-rehearsed in this riveting, intense book, I did not want the adventure to end. I was emotionally drawn into the characters and the situation and looking for the investigation to be solved. I realize this is not for everyone in the mystery thriller category because of its subtleness and lack of, but it was perfectly woven into an investigation around a small little girl named Mia that was kidnapped/taken when she was two years old. I found myself cheering for her innocence and survival.
Told in several POVs, but when told through Mia's eyes, her naiveness is captured as well as her glass half full personality that will bring you to your knees in tears. Raised in a drug infested environment she was found wandering the streets by an arrogant, unacceptable, rude, ritzy woman and her teenage son and decides to take her home and raise her without anyone's knowledge she exists. Against her husband's approval and disdain, she tucks her away in the basement and by five years old she is cleaning the house and doing their laundry. You will despise who she calls "Ma'am".
When neighbor, Sharon, sees her in the window late at night washing dishes, it is an honest mistake of Mia's that will help bring knowledge to her existence. Sharon knows they do not have a daughter and ponders some reasons why she would be there. When Sharon's daughter, Amy, refers a former foster teen, Niki, to stay with her mom and help her get on her feet, they become a mismatched team to investigate the weird occurrences across the street.
Sharon reveals a number of important character dimensions, such as compassion, nurturing and empathy, which draws Niki in from her current situation. After Niki's foster care experiences and dealing with bullies at school, she reveals a unique trait of moral reasoning and social responsibility as key factors in growing up. Together they are perfectly driven for a cause.
This book will keep you on the edge of your seat with their almost miss predicaments and team "Mia" advances to find out the truth behind this hidden away "Moonlight Child". It is one that will stay with me for awhile. Thank you NetGalley, NightSky Press and Dreamscape Media for this book in exchange for my honest review!
Moonlight child was my last book of 2020 I finished it at 11pm on 30th December. I still remember the pain I went through while reading this book.
It was captivating, intense, fast paced with no dull events and astonishing. The characters were dramatic, far from likeable but I was still rooting for them. They were full of flaws yet written flawlessly. The relationships and family bonds both willingly and surreptitiously formed were something I never thought I would end up falling in love with.
Though I knew what was gonna happen in the end but still I enjoyed the narration and turn of events a lot.
I ended up thinking that what could have happened if Sharon and Niki wouldn't have paid attention to what's happening in the next house? It scares me a lot. We are so caught up in our lives that we don't pay attention to wrong doings in our surrounding. I am a noticer , I notice every single thing that happens around me, which is really bad because I can't just ignore and move on. I know what I said was just contrary to what I mentioned earlier but it depends on the situation.
"The Moonlight Child" by Karen McQuestion is a captivating and suspenseful tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. The story revolves around Sharon Lemke, who stumbles upon a peculiar sight of a young girl doing chores late at night in her neighbor's house, a family without any children of that age. Together with Niki, an eighteen-year-old foster child under her care, Sharon embarks on a thrilling journey to uncover the truth behind the mysterious activities at the Flemings' residence.
McQuestion skillfully weaves together elements of mystery and family drama, creating an engaging narrative that explores themes of identity, belonging, and the lengths one would go to protect those in need. The characters are well-developed and relatable, especially Niki, whose own experiences as a foster child add depth and complexity to the plot.
The pacing is excellent, with each chapter revealing new clues and building suspense, making it difficult to put the book down. McQuestion's writing style is fluid and descriptive, effortlessly immersing readers into the world she has created.
"The Moonlight Child" is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged novel that combines mystery and heart, leaving readers eagerly turning the pages until the very end.
I'm not sure what to say. I feel like I read a different book than everyone else. To be upfront though, I've never connected well with 3rd person. This book, for me, felt like one long prologue or epilogue. Each character was a little one dimensional. The story from chapter one is lost for way too long. Things just lacked grit and depth. The premise is interesting and like other readers I read it quickly because I wanted to know more. I just thought a lot could have been done better. I think a multi first pov would have been outstanding.
I think a couple other reviewers hit the nail on the head—too much explanation, not enough dialogue or action. Too many superfluous details told from too many points of view, the story was slow and the relationship between Sharon and Niki was so unbelievable to me that it was borderline annoying. I would have given it 3 stars for the concept and for keeping me entertained, but the pace and writing style brought it down to a 2, which translates into just “fine” for me. Would not recommend this one.
I have just finished a novel that tugged at my heart with such an emotional pull. Just like a Karen McQuestion story does. I love her books! This is a story of a little girl no one knows exists except for the family she's living with. A little girl named Mia. She's known no other life except the one she's in. She knows something is different about her place in the family but she is so innocent and trusts what she's told. She's such a sweetheart and all she wants to do is please her "family".
This is also the story of Niki. A young 18 year old girl just out of the foster care system with no family to live with. An attorney, Amy, has taken an interest in Niki and suggests she get her feet on the ground by staying with Amy's mother Sharon. This is a perfect scenario that puts Niki and Sharon together and the story plot that unfolds when they become suspicious by what they see in the house across the backyard. A little girl doing dishes late at night (The Moonlight Child) and suspicion arises as to why this would be.
This book was so emotionally charged. I went through the gamut of all the emotions possible with the characters, Ms. McQuestion has created in this story. "Niki had learned that people had layers, and sometimes what lurked underneath the prettiness could be ugly and cruel." The characters in this book are so well developed. The way Ms. McQuestion brings them to life with their emotions and traits is so realistic. They became people I could very well have met and gotten to know. Whether they are likable or ones I dislike with a passion, each one is minutely detailed and individualistic. I could feel their characteristics and what kind of people they were.
I fell in love with little Mia. My heart was wrapped around her little finger. Such a sweetie. No matter what was going on, all she wanted to do was please. She has a connection and attachment to Griswold, "her faithful canine companion"....that really touched my heart. Griswold is so loyal to her.
Niki and Sharon built a relationship that was so beautiful. One that was meant to be and so natural for them. Niki just needed someone to love her and Sharon was there. Niki is just who Sharon needs in her life, too.
My heart broke for Wendy and Edwin. Their daughter has been missing for years and there's been no word from her. Their hope is she will come home. How heartbreaking and devastating.
Then there were the characters I really despised. My mom instincts kicked in and couldn't believe how narcissistic Suzette was. She is a crazy mess and so self-centered. Her husband, Matthew and son, Jacob, were victims of her self-absorption and ego.
This book is so very good. The premise of the story is fascinating. It's complex but written as to build the story up so that I had to keep turning the pages. There was suspense, drama, secrets, mystery, and tragedy. There is also loyalty, love, friendships, determination and truth seeking. It's a novel that I had a very hard time putting down. From the poignant beginning chapter Ms. McQuestion captured me into the pages and took me on an intensely riveting ride to the climactic end. Very well done!
I want to thank the author, Karen McQuestion, for the honor of reading this fantastic book. All opinions and thoughts are my heartfelt own. It is definitely a five star read for me.
Maybe I am overly cynical, but this was too sweet for me and had too many different points of view that were never fully fleshed out. Flat dialogue that was cheesy and almost unnatural at times. (I really can’t imagine anyone having conversations like the one in this book.) There was so much that happened that did so little to further the story; other moments that lasted too long and ended up going nowhere.
“Life as an honest person could be difficult, but life as a criminal always caught up to you. No matter how careful they were, the story always had the same ending. It was very much, she thought, like circling a drain. You were going down at some point. You just didn’t know when.” ― Karen McQuestion, The Moonlight Child
It’s funny how a book comes into your reading life at a very coincidental time. While in the middle of listening to this story, my husband said that he wanted to watch a Diane Sawyer interview with the Turpin sisters. These sisters, along with their 11 siblings, had survived their parents abuse/imprisonment. The interview was heart breaking and paralleled this story so much. Wish these children had been lucky to have neighbors like Sharon and Nikki who followed their gut and weren’t afraid to get involved.
The characters in this were well developed as were the relationships. Wish we as readers had been told more about the details of Suzette’s fate and I wish we’d heard her thoughts about it.
Overall, a well paced suspense. I enjoyed this in audio format which was very well narrated by Stacey Glemboski. Looking forward to reading more by McQuestion. 4 stars.
This book was nothing like what I was expecting. I was thinking it was going to be horror or maybe a twisty paranormal thriller. So when I stopped waiting for ghosts and homicidal maniacs to show up I settled into a good, well plotted story that kept me turning the pages late into the night. But, there were no surprises. You know where the story’s going from the beginning but that was ok because it was told in a compelling way. I think the character development could've been a bit more in-depth and the villain was a bit Cruella deVille but all in all I think this was an enjoyable read.
I chose this book for an October read because the cover looked spooky. It wasn’t the spooky ready I was hoping for, but it was still a great read! I was approved for the audiobook on NG and it was incredible.
This story follows three mothers and their lives, but Sharon is the main focus and my favorite character.
Suzette is her neighbor and there wasn’t one likeable thing about the woman! Even though she lost a daughter as a baby, I couldn’t feel any sympathy for her.
The third mother is Wendy. Her and her teenage daughter have a troubled relationship. Wendy doesn’t like her daughter’s boyfriend, which causes Morgan to take off with the boyfriend. Wendy plays a bigger part later in the book, as we begin to see how the lives of these women intersect. It’s sad and wonderful, all at the same time!
Thank you to NetGalley and Karen McQuestion for an advanced readers copy. I am voluntarily leaving my honest review.
“No matter how careful they were, the story always had the same ending. It was very much, she thought, like circling a drain. You were going down at some point. You just didn’t know when.”
Sharon Lemke was outside watching a lunar eclipse when she sees a child standing at the Flemings’ kitchen sink at eleven o’clock at night washing dishes. But it doesn’t make sense at all because the Flemings’ have a teenage son, not a young daughter. Sharon thinks she may be reading into this too much…her eyes must be playing tricks on her. But then, her daughter Amy asks her to allow a former foster child, Niki, to come live with her to help her get on her feet. Niki soon starts noticing things that are not adding up either.
This story is told through multiple POV’s. We are soon introduced to Mia and her beloved dog Griswold, along with Jacob who is the Flemings’ son. Mia tugged on my heartstrings and her use of the word “ma’am” made me loathe it during the entire read. It is hard to say much more without giving anything away.
While this was a good read, I struggled with the plausibility of it all and felt like it was predictable throughout. Also, the first half of the book dragged in many parts, and IMO the author included too many unnecessary details and I often lost focus. Overall, this mystery novel was a decent, easy read but nothing that knocked my socks off.
“Life as an honest person could be difficult, but life as a criminal always caught up to you.”
This is just not good. I don’t understand all the 5 star reviews. The story was predictable and unexciting, the dialogue was poor and very unnatural, and the author went out of her way to explain very simple concepts like she believes her readers are stupid. It was almost as though a child looked up the themes of this book and wrote the story without fully understanding them or how actual humans talk. There was nothing thrilling about this one; like another reviewer said, it was like a book version of a Lifetime Movie, but I disliked it a whole lot more. I wouldn’t recommend.
I had a good time being shocked and thrilled by the Moonlight Child. The pacing was on point, and the characters were well-rounded and developed emotionally to connect with the reader. While this was my first time reading Karen McQuestion, it certainly won't be my last.
While parts of the tale were a bit far-fetched, I was still involved with the telling. There were a lot of dynamic relationships going on and a lot to speculate about in terms of definitions of family.
Sharon Lemke has an empty nest and a big heart and she's just the right person to take in Niki, a former foster child trying to make it on her own as a new adult. They both have their own reasons for not standing idly by when they see possible child abuse happening in the house behind them, but they have no idea of the mystery they are about to unravel.
This was a gripping, on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller with really great, well-developed characters who were just the right people in the right place at the right time. I was just off-balance enough through the first few chapters that I didn't see how the two different plot lines were going to merge. I always love that feeling at the beginning of a good mystery.
I really enjoyed Niki. The author captured the inner fragility as well as the hard outer layer of this teenager who had lived a life full of heartbreak already. Her character contrasted with Sharon, the kind, loving, mother with just a small rebellious streak worked so well .
What stood out to me were the relationships between the characters. The author spent a lot of time exploring healthy and not-so-healthy relationships.
I don't think there was a lot new or different mystery-wise, but it was just a really satisfying read and I enjoyed it a lot.
I was intrigued by the plot description, and it was offered from Amazon for a buck, so I went for it. The book reads like YA fiction, emphasis on the Y. The writing is unremarkable, and the characters are one-dimensional. I did see it through to the end, however. Not terrible storytelling, but not great either. No surprises and lots of unnecessary narration.
Quick paced story told from several perspectives. The little girl, Mia, did not remember a family before her captors and just wanted to keep “Ma’am” happy. I was very intrigued by the son, Jacob - he was abused and as much a victim as Mia. Although this story does tug at your heartstrings, there’s very little violence, more neglect than abuse. Even though somewhat predictable, I did enjoy The Moonlight Child.
A gripping emotional story! Even though this story was predictable at some points, I found it hard to put down. The character's seemed so real and I found myself feeling every emotion throughout this book. What would you do if you saw a little girl washing dishes at 11 p.m. at a neighbors house who doesn't have a young daughter? This story involves kidnapping, abuse, secrets, lies and two women's journey to find the truth about The Moonlight Child. This story does have a happy ending for which I am thankful for. If it had turned out differently, I think I would have used alot of curse words and given it the lowest rating.
I really enjoyed this book. I finished it in just a few days. I am not a fast reader so this was pretty fast for me!
The story is told from three different families points of view. A mother and a father with a missing child. A young woman staying with an elderly, kind woman after growing too old to be in the foster system and a family trapped under the strong hold of a narcissist, sociopath wife/mother. Their lives are intertwined and finally explode in an epic way.
The story line is pretty predictable right from the start. However it’s so well written that all you want to do is keep reading faster and faster to get to the end. Even though you will guess the ending to a T.
You can’t trust your neighbors and you can never know what goes on behind closed doors!
I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a fast paced suspense book. Only one warning, you will read about kidnapping and abuse of a minor. The ending is happy and ties well in a perfect bow.
After hearing so much about this book, and seeing all the highly rated reviews, I finally got around to reading The Moonlight Child. I will say that this book did not disappoint! This was a fast read for me as I could not turn the pages fast enough, and I now have a new author who I will be looking forward to reading more of. This was a great story with relatable characters, and it will make you stop and think about things that we feel, or things that we think we know. I definitely recommend this book!
I didn’t expect to love this as much as I did! This is a beautiful story of horror,loss, love and forgiveness. This author is new to me but her writing is mesmerizing,pulling you into the lives of each character and then wringing your heart out with emotion. I highly recommend this one.