Moondance by Diane Chandler #BookReview @Dchandlerauthor @Blackbird_Bks

About this book…

Bittersweet, at times funny, and always emotionally raw, this is by far the most moving and honest novel you’ll ever read about IVF and its impact on a marriage.

How can you long for someone who doesn’t exist?

Cat has always been in control of her life. Happily married to Dom, but flying high as a political lobbyist, she dismisses his desire to start a family … until she herself is ready.

But what if it is then too late?

Complex and selfish, intelligent and open, if she is to succeed in having that elusive child, Cat must battle through gruelling fertility treatment and the emotional strain it places on her marriage. By her side, Dom, easygoing and ever the optimist, finds that he too risks being run ragged by their journey.

Both are forced to come to terms with their longing for a baby against the blitz on a relationship tested like never before.

By the winner of The People’s Book Prize for Fiction 2016

A rare, raw, engaging fictional account of the traumas of infertility told with frankness and humour.

My review…

When I saw Moondance being talked about by other bloggers, I knew that it was one I just had to read. From a personal point of view, although I only had the initial tests and never got as far as starting a course of IVF, I can understand totally the thoughts and obsessions that go round in your head if you are struggling to conceive. I was lucky in that I ended up conceiving naturally after 4 years but then followed a number of miscarriages (mostly early but one very late) that made me think that my journey towards motherhood was one that was never going to succeed. Thankfully, I now have a lovely family (children and grandchildren!) but I will never forget those years where getting pregnant was the most important goal in my life. Which is why I totally got where Cat was coming from-and then felt ashamed of myself for not having the sympathy that I had expected for her! She isn’t a particularly sympathetic heroine!

This is the story of Cat and Dom, who meet whilst travelling and settle down back at home in the UK to get married. Raising a family in their marital home is actually quite far removed from Cats thoughts to begin with as she has a much loved job as a political lobbyist. She has the perfect life and so what if Dom thinks they should try to start a family, she has plenty of time….doesn’t she? But obviously, once they do eventually take that first step, things do not go as planned.

The great thing about this book is that the characters stop it from being saccharine sweet and overly emotional. Yes, the chapters where they are going through IVF are very moving but what I actually found more interesting was the in-depth look into a process that is far more complicated than most of us realise. The author must have had experience of assisted pregnancy as she has nailed it perfectly and her detailed descriptions make you feel as though you are actually there at the clinic with Cat and Dom. There is a humour in there as well at times, certainly at the beginning of their quest for a baby, that takes the edge off what can be quite a physical and emotional rollercoaster. Now, I know that trying to get pregnant can take over every waking moment for most women but Cat took it to the extreme- probably as she was pretty much a very unlikable person! There were hints to begin with, not many female friends, very career oriented, trying to steal another woman’s man….this woman had issues much worse than infertility! She had an intense disdain for her own mother and their relationship was very strained even though I absolutely loved the rather eccentric Lizzie. It made me wonder why she even wanted a child if she had such a clouded view of mother/child relationships. But what Cat wants, Cat gets and she will let nothing stand in her way. Her husband Dom seemed much less uptight about things even though Cat was absolutely vile to him at times. I could understand some of the things she did and said but most were quite abhorrent to me, nothing can excuse that sort of behaviour in my eyes!

I actually enjoyed this book far more than I was expecting to. The wider cast of characters kept it real and were a fabulous contrast to the intensity of the IVF storyline. Diane Chandler writes beautifully, she is a natural storyteller who makes us care about her characters-even though they are not particularly likeable at times. She has harvested some emotive issues here and delivered a moving tale of one couple’s relationship and its fight to survive when something they can’t control threatens to overtake their happiness. It was just perfectly pitched right to the end where it left me feeling emotionally uplifted but with a small tear in my eye! Definitely one I would recommend for a thought provoking read.

Many thanks to Blackbird Digital Books for my review copy of Moondance.

Moondance: IVF Could Create A Baby But Could It Also Destroy A Marriage? is published on November 1st by Blackbird Digital Books.

About the author…

Diane Chandler worked first as a political lobbyist in Brussels, and then at the European Commission for several years, where she managed overseas aid programmes in Ukraine just after the fall of communism. Ukraine became the subject for her first novel The Road To Donetsk which won the 2016 People’s Book Prize for Fiction. Moondance, her second novel, about a high-flying career woman battling with gruelling fertility treatment, was informed by her personal experience of the emotional and physical impact of IVF. Diane lives in Chiswick, West London.

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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