Inspired by a real case, Half Moon Lake is a captivating historical novel set in America's Deep South about a lost boy - and the two mothers who both seek to claim him.
'They said he was their boy. And so he was . . .'
In 1913, on a summer’s day at Half Moon Lake, Louisiana, four-year-old Sonny Davenport walks into the woods and never returns.
The boy’s mysterious disappearance from the family’s lake house makes front-page news in their home town of Opelousas. John Henry and Mary Davenport are wealthy and influential, and will do anything to find their son. For two years, the Davenports search across the South, offer increasingly large rewards and struggle not to give in to despair.
Then, at the moment when all hope seems lost, the boy is found in the company of a tramp.
But is he truly Sonny Davenport? The circumstances of his discovery raise more questions than answers. And when Grace Mill, an unwed farm worker, travels from Alabama to lay claim to the child, newspapers, townsfolk, even the Davenports’ own friends, take sides.
As the tramp’s kidnapping trial begins, and two desperate mothers fight for ownership of the boy, the people of Opelousas discover that truth is more complicated than they’d ever dreamed . . .
Half Moon Lake is Kirsten Alexander’s compelling debut novel, about the parent-child bond, identity, and what it means to be part of a family.
'A terrific premise, which becomes more than just a page-turning story; this is a complex and thought-provoking tale of the lengths we go to in order to save those close to us — and to save ourselves. I was gripped throughout.' Natasha Lester, author of The Paris Seamstress
'A gripping, nervy tale of identity, class and race, in which power and money triumph over truth … a strong original narrative, with a central mystery and an intriguing plot.' Sydney Morning Herald
'Half Moon Lake is an evocative, unputdownable story about every parent’s worst nightmare - losing a child ... Many times I wanted to step into the pages of this book to put things right - a sure sign of a compelling read. I highly recommend this novel.' Sally Hepworth, author of The Mother-in-Law
'Half Moon Lake is a compelling tale, full of wonderfully drawn characters and richly evoked locations, with a wrenching story at its heart . . . should be read and re-read - devour it for the engrossing story, and return to it for the lyrical language.' Meg Keneally, author of Fled
“A gripping, nervy tale of identity, class and race, in which power and money triumph over truth … a strong original narrative, with a central mystery and an intriguing plot.”
Sydney Morning Herald
“An accomplished debut novel.”
Australian Book Review
“Half Moon Lake is a captivating novel... Transporting us to another time, she takes readers to a world rife with injustice and prejudice, where the truth can be bought with gold, and social appearances mean everything. For readers who enjoy both historical and thriller fiction, Half Moon Lake should be on your reading list for 2019.”
“An incredibly strong debut that left me thinking about this book for weeks.”
Sam Still Reading
“Alexander’s thoughtful novel kept me engrossed and raised plenty of questions that had me thinking about the book long after I finished.”
Good Reading Magazine
Half Moon Lake is set in 1913-1916 Louisiana. Discover some music of the era – ragtime, dixieland, classical and wartime songs – on Spotify.