The Moon and Stars by Jenna Warren – Review

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By Sandra Callard

The Moon and Stars concerns the problems of a young man, Matthew Capes, who has a beautiful tenor voice which is perfect for opera. His problem is that he has chronic stage fright and although he passes the tests for various auditions, he clams up on the stage itself. He eventually becomes the manager of a small time, run-down theatre, and knows he could bring it to life again if he could only sing on stage.

The early chapters of the book are somewhat lacking in pace and the central character does not capture the attention of the reader initially, but it does gather momentum, albeit slowly, and midway through the book l started to feel that I was becoming slightly more attentive to the problems of Matthew and his friends. Matthew is, in fact, a slightly irritating personality, but he does engender a few loyal friends, and as a reader I did eventually realise what he was going through and was soon happily willing him on in his efforts to sing in public.

The problems of stage fright is not a difficulty that I have ever had any connection with, and I was therefore somewhat lacking in understanding or sympathy for it, but as the time passed in reading this book I did become aware of the awful results of this affliction. There was in fact no mention at all throughout the book of any kind of treatment that may be available, and my sympathy for Matthew grew as I became a silent watcher of his agonies.

“Very well sketched”

the moon and stars jemma warren book review coverThe story grew in stature as the book revealed friendships, love affairs and misunderstandings as Matthew slowly tried to tame his fears, and by the end of the book I was wholeheartedly encouraging him to stand up and show them he could sing. The story is obviously very musically related, and gives out the vibes that the characters in the book, if they were real people, would be connoisseurs of music of the highest order.

The book does veer nicely away from Matthew’s inability to perform on stage as other characters are introduced. These characters were very well sketched and even when their appearance was short, they left an imprint on the page of the book. I don’t think there was a superfluous character at all, which is in itself remarkable.

New books with new authors tread a hazardous path as there are always those willing to bring them down, and I too have made my mark, carefully, in this review. However, there are many glimmers of light here, without a doubt. Ms Warren started off rather shakily and somewhat innocently, but she steadily picked up pace and interest as she made Matthew more interesting and more believable – and so the light is lit and an author is born. What next, I wonder.

‘The Moon and Stars’ by Jenna Warren is published by Fairlight Books, £8.99 paperback


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