Thursday 5 October 2017

#BookReview Whisper of the Moon Moth by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

Whisper of the Moon Moth by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For nineteen-year-old Estelle Thompson, going to the cinema is more than a way to pass the time…it’s a way out. In 1931 in Calcutta, Anglo-Indian girls like Estelle are considered half-breeds, shunned by both English and Indian society. Her only escape is through the silver screen, where she can forget the world around her.

When Estelle catches the eye of a dashing American heir with connections to a major motion-picture studio, he also captures her heart. Soon, Estelle has a one-way ticket to London and a recommendation for a screen test.

To get to the top, she must keep her Indian heritage concealed—and so begins her new identity as movie goddess Merle Oberon. But just as her dreams are poised to come true, she discovers that her own family is keeping a much more shocking secret from her—one that changes everything she’s believed about her past.


Merle Oberon's life before (and after) fame is one that is so fascinating that I was thrilled to learn that a book was going to be published. However, my expectations of the book turned out to be too high. As a close friend of my (who is also reading this book, will link to her review when it's done) wrote about the book "categorizing this one as a freely adapted biographic fiction that is significantly heavy on the fiction." I personally called it fantasy since the author decided to take leaps in the story that had no anchoring in real life. But, that's me...

Anyway, the writing isn't bad. I enjoyed reading The Woman on the Orient Express by the author and if this had been a historical fiction with made-up characters would I have enjoyed the book more. But, alas there are so many omissions and added events that I felt that this is like taking a real person's life, erasing parts that don't fit with the story and adding events to make it more thrilling. For instance, the whole Vivien Leigh feud is just laughable. And, the ending is saccharine and definitely felt like the author decided to change the truth to a suitable lie instead. And, the part I was looking forward to, the love affair with a fellow actor was totally omitted. Glossed over. But, he was married so of course that is taboo and we can't have Merle having an affair with a married man. Instead, make it believe that she had a fling with David Niven before finding true love...

Would I recommend this book? Not if you are looking for a biographical fiction, this is so far away from Merle's life that you will probably enjoy it if you know nothing about her and/or don't mind the author taking liberation with Merle's life.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

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