Losing the Moon
Patti Callahan Henry
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Losing the Moon
Patti Callahan Henry
New American Library
384 pages
May 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Amy Reynolds, the protagonist in Losing the Moon, has a life that many women would envy. She is married to Phil, a stockbroker and a loyal husband who is devoted to taking care of his wife and family. They have two happy, well-adjusted children, Molly and Jack. Molly is in high school and is a talented swimmer who is paving her way to a full college swimming scholarship. Jack is attending his first year of college and has adjusted well to student life away from home. Amy teaches part-time at a local university about a subject she is passionate about: historical architecture. The Reynolds reside in a historic two-story home that Amy fell in love with when Molly was a baby that Phil agreed to purchase, although he does not share Amy’s mantra that older is better.

At the beginning of the book, Amy and her husband are about to meet their son’s first serious girlfriend, Lisbeth. While Amy is filled with anticipation about meeting this young woman who has captured her son’s heart, she has no idea that the introduction will turn her own daily existence upside down. Upon the introduction to Lisbeth and Lisbeth’s parents, Amy immediately recognizes Lisbeth’s father, Nick. Nick, who is married to a Barbie look-a-like named Eliza, is just as shocked as Amy that they are meeting again after so many years.

Nick was Amy’s college sweetheart. In college, they shared a common passion in preserving the past with Amy’s interest in historic architecture and buildings while Nick’s interest was in land and nature preservation. In addition to similar interests, Amy and Nick had a relationship in college that transcended a typical fling in college. They loved each other and had a unique bond that tied them to each other.

However, Nick shattered Amy’s heart eighteen years ago when he failed to return from a student trip to Costa Rico. He simply never returned, and while Amy knew that he was alive, she was never given an explanation as to why he did not return as planned and why he disappeared from her life without explanation or even saying goodbye.

Amy is flooded with memories of Nick and their past love when she sees him again after all these years, in addition to the fantastic odds that her son is dating his daughter. As the families are inevitably drawn together by their respective children, Amy cannot help but think of what might have been. She is tempted by thoughts of what a life with Nick would have been like - and what it would be like in present day, despite the fact that such a relationship would betray her husband, her son, and her daughter.

Losing the Moon is a novel that grips the reader from chapter one. The characters are well-developed, and the reader can identify with each character at different points in the story. While a story about a “past love” is not new or original, Losing the Moon delves into interesting, complex issues about relationships, family and staying true to one’s self. Patti Callahan Henry’s writing is commensurate to LaVyrle Spencer’s engrossing novels about families and relationships, and this reviewer will certainly be keeping an eye out for Henry’s next release.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Shannon I. Bigham, 2004

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