What if you found a place to live where everything seemed so much simpler, so much more old-fashioned, than the world around you? Wouldn’t that seem rather appealing, especially if your life was somewhat chaotic and difficult? What if that place was really stuck in the distant past and you could travel to and from that place, spending some time in the late 20th century and then stepping back decades to the beginning of the century to calm things down?
This is the question at the heart of Valley of the Moon, by Melanie Gordon. The main action of the book takes place in the 1970’s, where Lux, our single mother protagonist, is struggling to make ends meet and take care of her young son by herself. When she takes a break by herself to the Sonoma Valley in California, she finds herself in a strange and beautiful community, populated by people wearing old-fashioned clothes, with equally old-fashioned manners and speech, as if they were from another time. She comes to realize that they really are from another time, the early 20th century, and that in this particular place they will always be living in the early 1900’s. She can go back and forth, unlike the people who live in the valley, and so begins a story of a woman torn between two eras: the 1970’s, where she is bringing up her son, and the world of Greengage, the place cut off from the passage of time.
What would you do if you only felt you belonged to a place that couldn’t exist in the modern world? Read Valley of the Moon and find out how Lux resolves her poignant dilemma.