The Moon Looked Down
It isn’t often that I read American historical romance, much less set in the 20th century. Dorothy Garlock’s The Moon Looked Down offers a somewhat refreshing change of scenery for me, to early 1940s Illinois.
Sophie Heller and her family immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1933, suspecting from the beginning that their country’s new chancellor was up to no good. Now it’s 1942 — America is in the war, patriotic fervor is stirring, and everyone is ready to defeat the ‘Japs’ and ‘Krauts.’ However, some people in town don’t trust the Heller’s loyalties, and three young, masked men burn down their barn, accuse the family of being Nazi saboteurs, and warn them to leave the small town of Victory. Sophie’s father thinks it’s best to lay low and not report the arson, and so they tell people that the barn was burned accidentally, and make plans to rebuild.
Sophie, though, soon befriends Cole Ambrose, a young math teacher who is returning to Victory after several years away. Impeded by a club foot, Cole cannot join the military like his brother – and he’s haunted by an incident from his childhood that has destroyed the relationship with his father. However, he’s instantly attracted to Sophie, and defends her against her attackers. A romance blooms between them, but they cannot be together until the threat against her family – and soon Cole himself – is eliminated.
The romance between Sophie and Cole was incredibly sweet. I really enjoyed both characters, and Cole is a perfect beta hero. The relationship between them just felt so right and natural and well paced, despite the action happening around them.
The one thing that bothered me about this book was Dorothy Garlock’s writing style. Though fans will likely enjoy this book thoroughly, I found the writing to be a bit unsophisticated. An excess of exclamation points and weakly integrated thoughts irritated me more than anything else. However, I enjoyed her cinematic descriptions of scenes; Ms. Garlock sets a beautiful and complete stage for her characters.
The Moon Looked Down was a sweet, simple romance set in a fascinating era. The plot and side characters bordered on being a bit too simplistic, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re looking for a fast-paced romantic suspense, this isn’t where I’d start. But if you’d like a sweet, slow romance between two wonderful characters, you’ll find what you’re looking for with this book.