The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova By Ruth Hogan (Review by Stacie Kitchen)

2 min read

Rating: 3/5 ⭐

At its heart, The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova is about a young woman, Billie, who is searching for her birth family. Helping her along the way is tarot reader, palmist, and clairvoyant Madame Burova (Imelda). Through all her tarot readings, Imelda becomes a keeper of secrets and in keeping with a specific secret, Imelda presents Billie with an envelope from her birth mother after the death of her adoptive parents. Curious about her past and why her parents decided to give her up, Billie heads to Imelda’s home on Pancras Pier in search of more answers.

The book jumps back and forth between 1972/1973 and modern day. In 1972 Imelda has taken over the family tarot reading business from her mother and has joined the employees at Larkins Holiday Park as an entertainer for the guests. With a full cast of entertainers: contortionist, singers, musicians, wall of death rider, and synchronized underwater dancers the book had a bit of Dirty Dancing vibes to me. You got the behind-the-scenes romance and all the drama of the workers. In modern day times, we meet back with a lot of the same characters as Billie goes through the Larkins staff one by one to determine which set may be her parents.

At the beginning of this book, I felt a little like I was reading Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. There were so many different characters presented and the reader must try and keep all these people straight and figure out whodunit and how they are all connected. I can’t say this was the most successful book with a laundry list of characters. I had to go back and forth to try and remember who each of the Larkins holiday employees were. I will say their lives were surprisingly intertwined well at the end though (even if I still can’t remember the names of the underwater dancers to save my life). This is my first Ruth Hogan book and it read a little saccharine. I enjoyed the story line and the cast of characters, just wanted a bit more depth.

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