Saberlee Books|February 19, 2008|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-9815836-6-2
Crooked Moon, first and foremost, is a human drama, an emotional journey into the lives of two women and those closest to them. As children, Frankie Cavalese and Callie Mason were the very best of friends, growing up together behind opposite walls of a row home in a blue-collar neighborhood of Philadelphia called Rainytown. The friendship they shared was special – the kind that storybook heroines had – and neither ever considered the possibility of it not lasting forever. But after high school, life interfered and circumstances separated them as they each went on to live in drastically different worlds. Twenty-three years later, one hot unsettled summer, their lives come crashing back together when Callie, who has led a life of privilege, returns to Rainytown and finds her old friend still living in her childhood home, unmarried, and caring for her angry dying mother, Ruby. Frankie is faded. Her signature tenacity is threadbare as she routinely implores her playboy brother, Paulie, to help ease the burden of being their mother’s sole caregiver. As the two women reconnect, Frankie tries to forgive Callie for abandoning the friendship, while Callie wrestles with the guilt of having disappeared. To complicate the fragile reunion, Callie’s marriage to her husband, Jackson, is suddenly at risk, further muddled by the affections of (and attraction to) Paulie. Tensions and passions explode in the sweltering heat, and amid pain and tragedy, each woman not only ends up with a life-altering secret regarding the other, but the burning question of what to do with it.
Callie and Frankie have been friends since childhood living on opposite sides of the wall in their tenement building. They had a secret code that they’d tap on their bedroom walls so they could communicate at night when they were in bed.
The years passed and it came time for the girls to attend university but each vowed not to let their geographical distance separate their friendship. They promised to stay in touch and stay close. But like all things in life, our best laid plans often fly out the window.
Callie finished her education, married Jackson, and had two beautiful children. They owned a gorgeous palatial home that was like something out of a dream. Callie’s, Aunt Emily who had raised her had recently passed away making it necessary for Callie to return to Rainytown to clean out her house. Emily had not lived there for the past ten years.
The first day, Callie drove up in front of the house she looked across the street and saw Frankie’s mother, Ruby on the front porch watering her beloved plants. Callie couldn’t believe how little she’d aged considering a twenty-three year period had passed. Her hair wasn’t much grayer and she still wore the old house dresses with the little socks. Callie wondered about Frankie and where she might be living these days. After a few moments she climbed out of her BMW and began to cross the road to greet, Ruby. As she got closer, the person on the porch turned in her direction and Callie was astounded to discover that it wasn’t, Ruby at all, it was, Frankie! Callie felt sick, she didn’t know what to say but realized quickly that Frankie never made it out of Rainytown.
Can we ever truly return home? Can Callie make amends with Frankie after abandoning her twenty-three years ago? Will Frankie even be willing to discuss anything with Callie?
In Crooked Moon the characters are so well developed, so well described that you almost know what they’re going to say before they say it. Ms. Brodey has an uncanny knack for creating characters that are real, just like the people we ourselves would become friends with.
Callie and Frankie had such a deep, deep personal relationship and many times throughout the story I felt sick at heart for their struggles to regain the bond they shared as children. At times I felt awed by them and at times I felt sad for them. Their determination to reach out to each other was amazing to watch unfold. I savoured and hung on every single word, I didn’t want to miss a thing. I was feeling what they were feeling which made it more difficult for me to remain objective. I became too emotionally close to them both to enable myself to figure out what was coming next. I experienced it as they experienced it.
Crooked Moon was a phenomenal story! There were a lot of issues to work through after a twenty-three year separation. The ending was so moving that I’m still not over it. I just couldn’t put this book down and read it in two sittings, it was remarkable!!