All Reviews

The Oceanography of the Moon, by Glendy Vanderah

Read and experience for yourself Vanderah’s entrancing magical realism and her faith in human redemption.

5 stars

The Oceanography of the Moon by Glendy Vanderah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Glendy Vanderah is in my Top Ten Favourite Authors list. I absolutely loved Where the Forest Meets the Stars and The Light Through the Leaves. Those were very memorable reading experiences for me.

Riley and Vaughan’s story was the stuff of “magic” – as if the Universe, and all the players in their respective worlds, conspired or served to unite these two very damaged young people.

Aunt Julia was my favourite character: Julia was the fulcrum – the ghost in the machine of the entire workings of this novel. She was, by far, the least complicated, “live out loud” personality in this entire heartrending drama. (That horrifying twist at the end had me shaking my head in sorrow.)

Without Aunt Julia, Riley and Vaughan would never have found their way to one another, nor would they have had the tools to deal with the traumas of their past, find it in themselves to forgive the “unforgivable” and move on to redemption, love and unconditional acceptance. We get to experience, in its infancy, Vanderah’s recurring theme of Nature versus Nurture – that you can overcome the horrific experiences of your early childhood and choose your own life path if the right people intervene and show you that there is still something good in this world to strive for.

To say any more about this story would unleash all kinds of spoilers. I encourage you to experience one of this author’s earlier promising works and to discover for yourself Glendy Vanderah’s amazing talent for weaving words that fall into your mind and heart like stars from the heavens.

I’m rating this novel a 4.5 out of 5 stars. My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel, in exchange for an honest review.

Note: As I read The Oceanography of the Moon, I started to suspect that this was a “prequel” – one of Vanderah’s earliest attempts at writing a novel. Why? Because the lead characters in her first two published novels were much older than Riley. Also, when I turned the last page on my ereader, Glendy Vanderah, in her Acknowledgment, thanked her agent for supporting her decision to dust some cobwebs off the original manuscript for this story. I was wrong, as it turns out! (See comments section below.)

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4 replies on “The Oceanography of the Moon, by Glendy Vanderah”

Hi Susan. Thanks for the detailed review:) I wanted to clarify: I didn’t write this book at the beginning of my writing career. My first books were YA fantasies and some sci-fi and dystopian. I wrote The Oceanography of the Moon after I finished my publisher’s edits on Where the Forest Meets the Stars. But I decided Vaughn was a bit too rough in that first draft to be likeable. So I decided to rewrite it. But first I wrote The Light Through the Leaves.


Thank you so much for this clarification. I will go back and rephrase those comments.
I think I thought this was one of your first books because your female characters have, so far, been these mature women with a fair amount of life experience behind them. Riley certainly had a good head on her shoulders and was able decide many things for herself (as opposed to following the accepted behaviour of her peers – something many of us don’t really learn to do until we’ve been out in the world for a bit.) Riley was a young “wise old soul.”
In my opinion, whatever you felt was lacking with Vaughan’s character, you certainly dealt with in the finished draft. I grew to love him, flaws and all. The fear of retribution for real or imagined sins plagues us all. Guilt, and its effect on our lives and mental health, was very well handled in this story.
My partner on this blog, Stefan, has conducted interviews with some of the authors whose books he has reviewed. I have often thought that I would love to interview you for my blog.
My problem is that I don’t even know where to begin! However, one recurring theme that always touches my heart in your stories are the young children who have suffered severe physical/psychological abuse and neglect in your stories. Viola/Raven is, for me, one of your most memorable characters, as was Ellis. You took Ellis through hell and back! I was spellbound by her journey in your story.
Just a thought I wanted to put out there. No pressure! Thanks for the comment and the clarification. Stay well!


Good morning, Susan. Thank you for reposting the review. I’m glad you liked the new Vaughn. He was a complicated character to write. I’d love to discuss an interview. Resilience in survivors of childhood trauma is a central theme in my books. I feel writing positively on that topic can give hope to people who have had similar experiences. If you’d like to talk more, please contact me at my author email.
Best to you,

Liked by 1 person

Thank you for this quick response! I will send you an email in the next few days. I just found mold in my ensuite storage room and I am surrounded by boxes and containers. Very hard to think straight with all this clutter around me. As for the proposed interview, I’ve already jotted down a few ideas and questions! I’m very excited! Thank you!


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