Review: The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg
This is one of the first books that I got through the Kindle First program and I just now got around to reading it. This book follows Agnes, one of the descendants of the last sultans of Singapore prior to Britain’s involvement with the small island nation. Set in the 1920’s, Agnes is a girl from many worlds, half Chinese, a quarter British and a quarter Muslim she lives in the crumpling palace her great grandfather built. I would classify this book as a sort of coming of age/slice of life sort of story.
One of my gripes about this book is that it really doesn’t have much of a driving plot. Sure, towards the beginning Agnes decides that she will save the palace from what seems like its inevitable destruction and the goal is met at the end, but it hardly seems to be her driving concern throughout the rest of the book. While this didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book it did leave it lacking substance. This is the kind of book you are likely to read then forget about soon after. Another thing was the way the story wrapped up felt rushed causing the final bits fall a bit flat. We are supposed to care that the palace is saved but all I could muster up was a bit of a shrug.
The best part of the book were the characters, who were diverse and interesting. Though we are limited to Agnes’s viewpoint we are treated to a cast of characters that are amusing and multi-faceted. It is hard not to fall in love with Agnes’s family or the various members of her acquaintances. I do wish that her final love interest had gotten more development beyond being very different than her first love interest. It is one of the reasons why the last part of the book fell flat.
Overall this is a lovely bit of light reading for those of you with some interest in Singapore and who are not looking for any substance in their reading. 2.5 stars out of 5, probably wouldn’t read again but it is not bad.