Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Water on the Moon" by Jean P. Moore, Served with Clementine Mulled (Spiked) Cider & Apple Slices with Smoked Cheddar

On today's TLC Book Tour stop I am reviewing the novel Water on the Moon by Jean P. Moore. Along with my book review I am serving up a fall-friendly, apple-lover's combo of Clementine Mulled Cider (spiked with apple brandy) and apple slices with smoked cheddar. Book the book and the recipe pairing are perfect to snuggle up to on an autumn afternoon or evening.

Publisher's Blurb:
When her husband comes out as gay and an airplane crash inexplicably destroys her home, the mother of teenage twin daughters must rethink everything she knows.

In her debut novel Water on the Moon, Jean P. Moore introduces readers to Lidia Raven, whose life begins taking seemingly endless wrong turns. Lidia and her girls miraculously survive the plane crash that destroys their home and are taken in by Lidia’s friend Polly, a neighbor with a robust collection of first-edition books who lives alone on a sprawling estate.

Struggling to cope with each of these life-changing events, Lidia discovers a connection between herself and Tina Calderara, the pilot who crashed into her home. In the months that follow, Lidia plunges into a mystery that upends every aspect of her life.

Rife with age-old dilemmas, this contemporary novel explores the relationships between mothers and daughters and the trials and triumphs of women’s friendships. As Lidia learns to reconcile her pain with her need to be true to herself and to accept that need in others, she discovers that while life has the power to unhinge her, it also has the power to open her to new ways of being in the world.
Set off by the poetry of Lord Byron, Water on the Moon received the 2015 Independent Publishers (IPPY) Book Award for contemporary fiction. Book Awards Coordinator Amy Shamroe comments, “Water on the Moon starts with chaos, but the story that unfolds is a carefully layered mystery that allows for meaningful character development. With simple, clean prose, Jean Moore crosses generations to bring a feeling of connection to the seemingly random, tragic event at the heart of the book.”

Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press (June 3, 2014)

My Review:  

It is amazing the amount of story that is packed into just 244 pages-with well developed characters and an interesting and engaging premise that melds several different ideas into one pretty seamless plot. I was worried at first that everything that was going on, both historical and fictional events (the plane crash and Tina the pilot's possible connection to Lidia, Lidia's friendship with Polly and relationships with her twin daughters, ex-husband, and new romantic interest, and finally water being found on the moon) could not be resolved or pulled together satisfactorily in a relatively short book--but indeed it was--a credit to Moore's skill as a writer. Lidia is a likable character who starts out meek and unsure but grows as the story does. Polly is the wise, honest, and loving friend that everyone needs in their life. There is mystery and romance, but the heart of the book is their strong friendship and how it impacts them. Although this novel isn't action-packed, it made me eagerly turn the pages to find out how things would resolve. Water on the Moon is a smart and engaging story about relationships, growth, and finding yourself when things seem lost. A truly enjoyable read, it was a pleasure to curl up and lose myself within its pages.


Author Notes: Jean P. Moore began her professional life as an English teacher, later becoming a telecommunications executive.  She and her husband, Steve, and Sly, their black Lab, divide their time between Greenwich, Connecticut and the Berkshires in Massachusetts, where Jean teaches yoga in the summers.

Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals such as upstreetSN ReviewAdannaDistillery, Skirt, Long Island Woman, the Hartford Courant, Greenwich Time, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Water on the Moon was published in June of 2014 and won the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Award for Contemporary Fiction.

 You can connect with Jean at her website, blog, or Twitter.


Food Inspiration

There could be no greater food inspiration for Water on the Moon than apples. The site of the plane crash, Lidia's Connecticut family home (on Apple Way) is set on apple orchards that were eventually sold off, except for a few acres surrounding the house. Before emigrating to America, Lidia's Italian grandfather cultivated apples, including their own tart reddish golden "Renette" apple that he distilled into rich apple wine. At one point Lidia serves her friends apple wine and cheddar cheese with apple slices and I wanted to do something similar, a boozy apple drink paired with apples and cheese, for my book-inspired dish. 

Hot apple cider is my very favorite fall beverage and I have been pinning recipes for various versions (especially the spiked ones) while dreaming of cold crisp weather. We don't have that cold crisp weather here but at least it's been a little windy and rainy this week and a girl can dream. ;-) I liked the simplicity of a Clementine Mulled Cider recipe I found on Epicurious that has an optional hit of rum. I decided to keep with the apple theme and use Calvados (apple-flavored brandy from Normandy) instead of rum, and use the honey tangerines I had on hand in place of the clementines. With Gala apple slices paired with a smoked cheddar cheese, it made a lovely late-afternoon snack.

Clementine Mulled Spiked Cider
Adapted from Zoe Singer, Self Magazine via Epicurious
(Serves 4)

1/2 quart apple cider
Peel of a clementine, cut into strips (I used honey tangerines)
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
4 oz rum or spiced rum (I used apple brandy)

Bring cider, peels, cinnamon stick and cloves to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. (I simmered the mixture about 10 minutes) Keep warm until serving time. Strain into mugs; add alcohol if desired. (You can garnish with a slice of apple or section of tangerine and a cinnamon stick.)

Notes/Results: Warming, sweet and very sippable. The tangerine flavor is there, along with the cinnamon, enhancing the sweetness of the apple cider and apple brandy. It smells wonderful and warms both the belly and soul. The spiked mulled cider went well with the tart-sweet Gala apples and smoked cheddar. Speaking of the cheese, a cheddar with more color would contrast and look prettier with the apples but I love smoked cheeses--it's a nice flavor contrast to the apples too. I made a half batch of the cider and drank one glass. Then for my second glass, I kept the apple brandy, but added some local honey and decided that it was "medicinal" for the cough I can't seem to get ride of. ;-)

Note: A review copy of "Water on the Moon" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.



  1. have never tried mulled cider, sounds delicious!

  2. Deb,
    I love the simplicity of the apple slices and cheddar on the toothpicks. Served with the warm spiced cider,it is perfect for our cool November evenings. Thanks will keep this in mind for Thanksgiving appetizers!

  3. Wow, that is certainly a lot of story to fit into on 244 pages but it looks like the author did it amazingly well!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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