Blue Moon, By the Light of the Moon series, book 2 by Jenny Knipfer
Inspirational Historical fiction
self-published, September, 2019, 382 pp
Reviewed by Joan Bauer
My mother was a twin, and while she and her sister were not identical, we always joked that they had a certain telepathy between them. This phenomenon is central to Jenny Knipfer’s Blue Moon, where the special relationship between identical twins Vanessa and Valerie--born to a life of privilege in late nineteenth-century Toronto--is perhaps irrevocably broken.
Valerie has chosen a conventional life with her husband Felix Wilson, a wine merchant. Her sister Vanessa falls in love with Renault La Rue, a dashing rail magnate, but their love does not last: she bears his child, Luis, without his knowledge, and her politically ambitious father demands that she allow childless Valerie and Felix to raise the boy as their own. Ten years later, when Vanessa inherits Renault’s business, she spirits Luis away to Webaashi Bay on the shores of Lake Superior to teach him about his father and claim her privilege as his mother.
Life in Webaashi Bay is fresh, romantic, and wild. The town “is attractively set, almost like a well-dressed lady. Superior is as her swishing gown of azure, the buildings as her waist, and the cliffs as her head and shoulders with the trees as her headdress.” Here, Vanessa finds a welcoming community of strong, independent women. But her new friend Jenay is linked to Renault’s mysterious death, and when Vanessa learns the truth, Jenay must work to overcome the harm her silence has done.
In the same way, Vanessa must find a way to repair the terrible rift she has created in her own family. Back in Toronto, Valerie is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and Vanessa is called upon to help her adjust to her new limitations. In the process, the two of them will learn new ways to parent the son they both cherish.
Each section of Blue Moon is rigorously time-stamped; while this technique ensures clarity, it can also be a little distracting. But Knipfer creates a strong sense of place, and she draws on her own experience with MS to depict the course of Valerie’s illness with great sensitivity. As the twin sisters seek to recover their special relationship, each finds solace and redemption in a faith based solidly on gratitude.
Joan Bauer holds a Master’s degree in English from Marquette University and has worked as a trust officer in a bank. In the course of raising three children, she has chaired fundraisers, served on boards, and volunteered frequently at church and school. She is working on her third novel.
Wisconsin Writers Association
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