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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Chris Guest's 36 Moons is a novel set in Massachusetts in 1692, a cleverly-plotted and emotionally rich story of love with a strong conflict. Fabian Shawe lives a quiet life with his family in Beverly. One day, Fabian sees a girl sitting in the shade on his property, hair blowing in the warm wind melodiously, and her petticoat fluttering, creating rhythmic waves. It seems as if she waltzed away. Curiosity leads him to find out why Emma is there, and so quickly, a strong attraction grows between him and the girl. Emma Radcliffe might change his world, but she also excites the jealousy of Arabella, Fabian’s lifelong friend and a girl who has loved him in silence since childhood. Things get complicated when Emma is accused of witchcraft. Fabian must do everything to prove her innocence and as he gets involved in the process, there are more disturbing revelations from Arabella.
This is a wonderful story and I loved how the author writes the setting, starting with a prologue that gives readers an idea of how witches or anyone accused of being a witch were treated at the time: “They put the accused underwater in the bay – if they float, then it’s determined that they’re in fact a witch. If they don’t, then they are exonerated, but often drown in the process.” The author writes characters that are real and the reader can enjoy the way relationships are developed in the story. The interactions between Fabian and Arabella are natural and it is not difficult to see that the girl has a liking for young Fabian. I loved Emma, a beautiful young woman who loves poetry and nature and who connects to Fabian intellectually. The writing is excellent, featuring vivid descriptions of the setting and great conversations. The stream of consciousness is a technique that allows readers to navigate the mental state of the protagonist and it gives depth to the character in this narrative. Chris Guest's 36 Moons is a romance that is deftly written and a story with emotionally rich characters and a clever plot.