Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Moonlight Palace, Liz Rosenberg ~ book review

* I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours to facilitate my review. 
All opinions are completely my own. *

books, reading, fiction, TLC book tours

The Moonlight Palace is a story set in Singapore in the 1920s.

It struck me as intriguing, with its story being categorized as a "coming-of-age" tale. That aspect of a story - the innocence of youth - the growth of a young ingenue - it's often fascinating to me - especially when set in a background of a world I know little or nothing about.

Agnes is the primary character, and she lives in a palace with her family, her extended family members, boarders - to be honest - it became a bit difficult to assess who actually lived in the palace with her at certain points. But even so, Agnes was a fun character to watch blossom.

I liked Agnes. I wanted more strength from her earlier on. I think that would have given the book more gusto from the get go. I suppose as a reader I struggled with that.

And though I found it to be an interesting story, I must admit that several aspects of it were somewhat confusing. For me the only constants were Nei-Nei Down, Uncle Chachi and British Grandfather (literal names she used to refer to them). I knew who the family members were. And I kind of knew who the "bad guys" were. Or the ones we weren't supposed to trust. And I knew that Agnes trusted too many people. Or asked too many questions. Or both. I understood the respect given to her elders and the faithful way she followed orders. But there were moments throughout the story that I felt as in the dark as Agnes did.

I knew there was a lot of strife and turmoil in the book - in the setting - their life and times, the early 1900s - so much happening - so much innocence in Agnes. A young seventeen, she sometimes followed what she was told blindly, and as a reader I struggled with that, needing more information.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were when she started working. Though set early on I felt that these glimpses of Agnes were what we needed as readers to truly see her branching out. Though they came and went throughout the story I enjoyed how this role helped the character come into her own.

I must stress that the descriptive settings in The Moonlight Palace were amazing. The views of Singapore, the palace, the scenery, all of it drew me into a place I've never seen. Rosenberg's detail in that regard was beautiful.

I fear that my review of this book isn't doing it justice. The story was a good one, but I found it lacking. Thing is, I'm not 100% sure WHAT it was lacking. Perhaps the pull that drew me in vanished too many times to keep me reading straight through? I put it down several times, picking it back up again with hopes of more intensity, more strength, something more.

I do have a copy available to give away, so if you're interested in winning please leave me a comment letting me know a setting that one of your favorite books has been written in. Whether it's a location, global, national, a room, one's mind - you tell me - and you could win a copy of The Moonlight Palace for yourself. Then you can let me know what you think about it.

* I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours. All opinions are completely my own. They are providing me with a copy of the book to give away to one of my readers. * 


  1. Sounds very interesting. Throw my name in the hat.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.


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