Go to Homepage   Suzanne Judson: Harper's Moon

  Crescent Blues Book Views

Two and one half moon gifBerkley (Paperback), ISBN 0-425-17542-1
Suzanne Judson winds a romantic tale around some real-life issues. From the outside, the affluent lifestyle Annie Taylor shares with her husband Tom Mahoney, a wealthy investment banker, appears enviable. By day Tom hammers out Wall Street deals. But by night he verbally and physically pounds his beautiful wife. Annie faces two choices: death or survival. After a particularly lethal beating, Annie chooses survival. She escapes New York, driving as far as her old car will go. In the hills of North Carolina, in the sleepy town of Burnsville, her car breaks down. 

Book: Suzanne Judson, Harper's MoonJed Harper grew up in Burnsville on the wrong side of the tracks. But most of the townspeople forgave his past when he began writing best-selling travel books and became a local celebrity. For part of the year, Jed lives in a modern log home built on the mountainside a few miles from Burnsville. Then the nomad in him takes over, and he packs his duffel bag for a faraway place where comfort and convenience seldom intrude.  

Not far from Jed's commodious home, Annie rents a cottage and starts her new life -- one totally different from her city-girl upbringing. In this rural setting, she seeks tranquility while she cultivates anonymity. She hopes Tom won't find her. Perhaps he won't look. But in Tom's eyes Annie belonged to him. Why should he willingly give up his favorite punching bag? 

Annie tries to shed her violent memories and rebuild her life. In New York, Annie created quilts in abstract patterns so stunning that they decorated walls instead of covering beds. In Burnsville, Annie continues to support herself by selling her creations through the New York shop that handled her quilts before her move. After all, the shop's eager patrons couldn't care less about Annie's home address.  

Ripped and stained by Tom's abuse, Annie wants no involvement with anything male, so she spurns Jed's friendly passes. To Annie, men bring physical pain and emotional scars. She believes she prefers her solitary life, one in which she can design her quilts and avoid emotional entanglements. But how long can Annie ignore her heart? And if she chooses to heed her healing heart, can Annie trust that much-abused organ to a nomad who enjoys a life free of emotional commitment? 

Suzanne Judson vividly portrays the terror and helplessness of an abused wife. Like the careful piecing of a quilt, Judson places some quirky secondary characters who enhance the plot without detracting from her main characters. But the slow narrative pace sometimes undercuts Judson's poignant story. 

Doris Valliant

Click here to share your views.

Readers Respond:

I've read Harper's Moon and liked it very much. Being a native North Carolinian, I can appreciate the quirky sub-characters. They really exist. I would have given the book a 4.

Joy V. Formy-Duval