Moondance Book Review – Diane Chandler

Just over a month ago I was lucky enough to intern for the wonderful Blackbird Digital Books. They are quite a small company but have some truly talented authors and a brilliant list of titles. One of their new releases, ‘Moondance’ is by Diane Chandler, whose previous novel ‘The Road to Donetsk’ won the People’s Book Prize for fiction 2015/2016.

In writing, ‘Moondance’, Diane Chandler has drawn on her own experiences to tell a honest and  emotional story of a couple trying to conceive through IVF. The release date, 1st November 2016, corresponds with National Fertility Awareness week- a cause Diane supports herself.

‘Moondance’ tells the story of Dom and Cat who are successful in almost every aspect of their lives, except for when it comes to starting a family of their own. After undergoing a series of investigations it becomes apparent that they will be unable to conceive naturally- possibly one of the hardest things you could ever hear. They go through cycle after cycle of IVF treatment, of unrelenting injections, check-ups and agonising two week waits to see if they have been successful in conceiving a child. Chandler does not shy away from the pain, anguish and desperation they encounter, which echoes the feelings many couples face during IVF but that is often overlooked by society and the media.

In many ways, Cat should be an unlikable character. She is manipulative, controlling and arrogant. Yet by the end of the novel, I couldn’t help warming to her- I wanted her to succeed against all the odds, to conceive that child they so desperately longed for. Dom equally is an interesting character, coping with the process of IVF in an entirely different way to Cat. You don’t often hear about IVF from a male perspective, so to see his emotional turmoil and his methods of trying to cope, very much added to the emotional impact of this novel.

The subject matter of this book is really quite sensitive and it would be a very difficult read for somebody currently going through IVF. ‘Moondance’ gives a rare insight into the heartbreaking reality of infertility and the battle couples undergo to try and conceive though IVF. It may help you understand a little more of what couples go through when they start the process and the tremendous impact this has on them- not just physically but emotionally. The themes running throughout ‘Moondance’ however, are universal-  the ability to love and be loved, the challenges of married life, sexism and the importance of family, no matter how imperfect they may be. There are also moments of real humour in ‘Moondance’ that would especially appeal to female readers.

‘Moondance’ is an emotional, thought-provoking and above all, honest page turner of a novel. It is a moving read, that takes you through a very private storm of emotion and stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

I would highly recommend this novel, it truly is a heart felt read.


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