Desert Isle Keeper
Hang the Moon
Hang the Moon is a big, gooey, romantic Valentine of a novel. Just as good as its predecessor Written in the Stars, it gives us sweet characters, a romantic and well-sketched setting, and split focus between romance and friendship. It worked on me hard, until I finally gave in to its charms.
Coffee addicted cynic Annie Kyriakos’ life has been in a holding pattern for way too long. But now, she’s has opportunity to take a promotion and move from Philadelphia to London to become the new managing director of Brockman and Brady. She hasn’t seen her best friend Darcy in years, and in what might be the only chance she’ll have to catch up with her for a while, she flies off to Seattle to break the news of her move to Darcy in-person, only to discover her best friend is in Canada on vacation. (As told in Written in the Stars). When Annie calls Darcy from the airport – where she’s stuck – Darcy immediately formulates a plan involving her brother.
Brendon Lowell, co creator of the OTP (yes, really – this time short for One True Person) dating app, is a romantic at heart, even though he keeps bumping his forehead against the closed door to love. He’s always carried a little torch for his sister’s childhood best friend, but seeing her now has completely changed his perspective on what the future might hold. He promises Darcy that he’ll show Annie around Seattle, but he’s not prepared for the girl he’s always liked to turn out to be a stone-cold fox as a grown woman. Annie, too, is shocked that dorky little Brendon has grown up into a gorgeous (but still dorky) man.
They begin to explore Seattle together, but Brendon soon learns that Annie’s not interested in anything romantic – both because of her career plans and the fact that she’s given up on dating. He tries to change her mind in multiple ways. Armed with everything he’s learned from years of watching romcoms, he sets about wooing Annie into staying. He has just one week to do it. Let the games begin.
Hang the Moon is honey-sweet – the fluff quotient is high, but it digs deep into the marrow of friendship, career expectations versus career desires, and what it means to adjust the expectations you have for both romance and your life outside of it. It’s warm and lovely and very well-balanced.
The roles of the classic wide-eyed innocent optimist and cynical anti-romantic are gender flipped here, and you’ll love to see it. I defy readers to come away from this one not loving Brendon, who is tender and warm and loving and terrific. I also defy them not to relate to Annie, who has not yet figured out what she really wants, only knowing that she doesn’t want what she’s had for quite a long time. I love how naturally her bisexuality is referenced during the novel – her queerness is simply a part of who she is.
Their romance is totally delightful, mostly because Brendon’s belief in romance clichés is challenged, and his ideas both warm Annie’s heart and prove that such mythmaking is a false notion when it isn’t backed up with real thought. Love helps Brendon and Annie figure out who they are, which is tough enough when you’re on your own.
Annie’s friendships with Darcy and her girlfriend, Elle, are examined here – the strains of the physical distance between them, and the fact that Annie has to make a little room for Elle now that she and Darcy are together.
Bellefleur continues to have an excellent window into what life in Seattle is like, and the monuments, places, and culture within the book all ring true. Hang the Moon is a warm embrace of a book that works no matter what coast you live on. Don’t miss it.