The Half Moon [Book Review] @ScribnerBooks #LiteraryFiction

Quietly told and atmospheric, The Half Moon is the heart wrenching story of a struggling business, infertility, and a failing marriage.

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane (cover) graphic image of a yellow moon broken in half against a blue background

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Marriage, Friendship, Small Town

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary of The Half Moon:

Thanks #NetGalley @ScribnerBooks for a complimentary e ARC of #TheHalfMoon upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Quietly told and atmospheric, The Half Moon is the heart wrenching story of a struggling business, infertility, and a failing marriage. Malcolm has always dreamed of owning a bar and stretches himself financially to take ownership of the Half Moon bar. Optimistically, he sees potential and risks everything to hold onto his dream. His wife, Jess, enjoys a successful law career but her loneliness in the marriage and her infertility cause personal distress. As Malcolm and Jess approach midlife, their individual unhappiness causes their marriage to fracture.

My Thoughts:


This is a reflective, character-driven story about what happens when two people who are very much in love don’t get when they want out of life. I appreciate complex, well drawn, multilayered, and realistic characters. As the pressures build, we hear from both perspectives and we gain insight into each of their actions. When we truly understand someone, our judgements fade quickly.


Although well written, The Half Moon is a sad and reflective story. It’s also realistic in its portrayal of a broken marriage..All dreams don’t come true, and couples do grow apart and their marriages can fracture under stress. Is this brokenness always the end of the story?


Poignant themes include broken marriage, infertility, disappointments, betrayal, infidelity, chasing your dreams, making mistakes, friendship, forgiveness, fresh beginnings, and hope.

Keane’s Hopeful Endings

The Half Moon is the second book I’ve read by Mary Beth Keane (see my review of Ask Again, Yes here). As difficult as her content can be, Keane’s endings are satisfactory and infused with hope and hard earned reconciliation (not to be confused with HEA).

Recommending The Half Moon

If you’re comfortable with the content, I can recommend The Half Moon for fans of Mary Beth Keane and for readers who appreciate character-driven, reflective literary fiction. Book clubs might find a great deal to discuss here.

I really waffled on the star rating for this one. Although it’s well written with a realistic depiction of a troubled marriage, this story might not have been the right one at the right time for me. Although I appreciated the ending, the sadness affected me.

Content consideration: infertility, infidelity, broken marriage

My Rating:  4  Stars


The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane (cover) Image: white text over a background of two half moons against a blue background

More Information Here (I love the cover and all it symbolizes)

Meet the Author of The Half Moon, Mary Beth Keane

Author of The Half Moon and Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth KeaneMary Beth Keane is the author of The Walking People, Fever, and Ask Again, Yes, which was a New York Times best seller, The Tonight Show Summer Reads pick, and a finalist for the Goodreads Book of the Year. The Half Moon, her fourth novel, is forthcoming May 2, 2023. Mary Beth was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing, and has received citations from the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and the Hemingway Society. She lives outside of New York City with her husband and sons.


Is this new release from Mary Beth Keane on your TBR or have you read it?

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***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

I purchase or borrow from the library all books I review unless explicitly stated that the book is free (arc)

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  1. Nice review, Carol. I like how you laid out the pros and cons to the reader so they can make an informed decision.

  2. Wonderful review, Carol. It is hard to review sad books, and I struggle whenever I have to do that. You did a wonderful job.

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