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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Madeleine Purslow opens Moon Diamonds: A Siamese Cat Story with a legend about how Siamese cats were created; the root of the beautiful title, Moon Diamonds. Monica Pinto, called Monique by her French mother, Claudette, is an actress at the start of the story. Sacked by a theatrical director because her memory fails, she decides to take a break from the stage and spend time at her home in a Cotswold village with her Siamese cat for company. When she decides, lonely in the absence of husband and fellow actor, Trevor, to buy a kitten, her life changes in ways she could never have guessed.
Moon Diamonds: A Siamese Cat Story by Madeleine Purslow is Monique’s story. She has an aging Lilac Point, Theodosia, and has been an actress for thirty years until she finds her mind going blank. This is much more than a book about cats, although cat lovers cannot fail to enjoy it: it’s a brilliant study of what appears to be the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. Forced into retirement, bored and lonely, with attempts to join a book club and a choir being spectacular failures, Monique buys a Siamese kitten, a Seal Point she names Ghilly, and “Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!”
This book is very well-written. The world of the theatre is vivid, and characters with the tiniest cameo roles in the story come to life. Surprisingly, given the core subject, Ms Purslow has written a comedy, and left me wondering if Madeleine’s final irony is in her second name.