As children, Frankie Cavalese and Callie Mason were best friends; but as life interfered, each went on to live in drastically different worlds. Twenty-three years later, their lives come back together when privileged Callie returns and finds Frankie still living in her childhood home, unmarried and alone, caring for her angry dying mother. 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 is suddenly at risk, further muddled by the affections of Frankie’s playboy brother. 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.
"Crooked Moon is a delightful novel of opposites colliding, secrets unfolding, and hearts breaking. It's all here: love, death, misery, joy, fury, shame, loyalty, forgiveness, friendship, and jealousy -- and it's a page-turner. While reading this surprise-of-a-novel, I kept thinking it was quite a bit like watching a terrific sitcom and a drama rolled into one... Crooked Moon set me off on an emotional roller-coaster and entertained me for many a night, and that's precisely what a good book should do. Lisette Brodey is a true storyteller!" Beth Hoffman, New York Times Bestselling Author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
"The author is a mistress of plot and character development who is able to intricately weave together a story with fine silken thread with a pace and timing that reminds one of an exquisitely choreographed dance. "Crooked Moon" is both poignant and witty but that would be a simplistic description of a book that is a cornucopia of complex interactions. Ms. Brodey powerfully exposes the issues of loss, abandonment, betrayal, guilt and remorse. As the story builds to a dramatic climax, the reader continues to be enthralled until the last sentence. In the resolution of each character's inner turmoil and emotional pain, a childhood friendship rekindles amidst the ashes. I was left with wanting more and the desire for a sequel remains in this reader's mind, in anticipation of what their lives would be like in the next chapter of this wonderful human drama." Laura J. Schultz, Psychotherapist / Freelance Writer / Book Reviewer
Surreal. Like the odd light of day when the sun is eclipsed, or the melting of time and reality in a Dali painting; that is how the physical act of returning to Rainytown felt to Callie Hethers. Parallel parked in her green BMW and neatly pressed in her country club whites, she quietly surveyed the blue-collar universe she had just reentered. Looking across the street at the modest row home in which she grew up, she saw Callie Mason, dirty kneed and pigtailed, swinging Barbie by a tuft of platinum vinyl hair as she played jump rope with the neighborhood children.
Aunt Emily’s voice was loud and cheerful as she called her niece to supper, reminding her to perform the necessary preprandial ablutions, then announcing that evening’s fare as if to coax her into obeying.
“Don’t forget to wash up! Then we’ll have spaghetti!” came the familiar cry. Once, Callie Mason wanted to know what would be served if she didn’t wash up.
“The palm of my hand on your rear end,” her aunt teased. “And just for that, I want you to wash
behind the ears…twice!”
Callie giggled and scampered off to the powder room, returning ten minutes later with the rest of the family in tow: Barbie, Ken, Smokey the Bear, and Bailey the cat. The animate family members, Aunt Emily, Callie, and Bailey, were all privileged to have chairs of their own at the dinner table, while the rest of the brood had to share the one remaining chair and to eat pretend food.
Callie Mason had been only six when she came to live with her aunt, Emily Phillips. Her mother, Anisa, who had been quite a beauty, married a wealthy older widower from Philadelphia’s Main Line at the age of twenty-three, deluding herself into believing that the procurement of a fortune was all one required for a happy life. Love, companionship, a sense of purpose, a career, and family were all extraneous concepts not worthy of prenuptial consideration. Anisa’s name had barely been added to her husband’s credit card accounts when the stork handed her an I.O.U. — just moments before her first New York shopping spree had come to pass. Nausea en route to Bloomingdale’s! What had she done (as if she didn’t know) to bring on such a cruel cosmic joke? She certainly had no desire to shop for “fat clothes” and “baby things” — just to prepare for a child she hadn’t even ordered. Perhaps if the young Mrs. Mason had matching friends with whom a new baby would’ve been an social asset, a pregnancy might have been advantageous to her. But as things stood, it was not.
When Callie was born, however, Anisa did her best to make sure that the nannies and servants took good care of the infant, while she attended to more pressing matters, like reclaiming her figure and acquiring her long-overdue wardrobe. Once accomplished, she actually had time to develop a fondness for the little one, but it was a fondness one develops for a friend’s or a neighbor’s child — not for one’s own.
Samuel Mason, Callie’s father, who had been childless on his first go-around, doted on his little girl to the best of his ability. Most of his efforts, however, were wasted trying to please the child he had married, not the one he had sired. With great patience, he endeavored to slowly ease Anisa into his circle of friends, but she was not interested in “those old codgers, coots, and curmudgeons, who played something called bridge instead of jumping off of one.” Exasperated by the sheer futility of his efforts, and realizing that the various “C words” also described him, Samuel left town to oversee his European business concerns. Anisa stayed happily behind, taking up with a string of naughty young men, mostly opportunists like herself, who, when she had finished with them, called her some “C words” of their own.
Also by Lisette Brodey
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