Agnes Hussein, descendant of the last sultan of Singapore and the last surviving member of her immediate family, has grown up among her eccentric relatives in the crumbling Kampong Glam palace, a once-opulent relic given to her family in exchange for handing over Singapore to the British.
Now Agnes is seventeen and her family has fallen into genteel poverty, surviving on her grandfather’s pension and the meager income they receive from a varied cast of boarders. As outside forces conspire to steal the palace out from under them, Agnes struggles to save her family and finds bravery, love, and loyalty in the most unexpected places. The Moonlight Palace is a coming-of-age tale rich with historical detail and unforgettable characters set against the backdrop of dazzling 1920s Singapore.
When I read the description, this book sounded to me like The Little Stranger, minus the ghost aspect and with a more exotic locale thrown in. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to read and review it, and the book did not disappoint. Parts of it are a bit silly or absurd, like the descriptions of Agnes’ crazy family members, but the main gist of the story--a young girl trying to keep her family together, pay homage to her past, and embrace the new and different ideas of the 20th century--is one that we can all relate to in one way or another. Good coming of age stories have a way of feeling timeless, and this one definitely fits the bill. If you’re looking for that in a book, plus don’t mind a beautiful and exotic setting, pick up The Moonlight Palace. It’s a short read, but definitely worth it for the descriptions alone.
If you're interested in reading The Moonlight Palace, I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader! Leave a comment below with your best exotic locale book recommendation and I'll pick a winner at random next week.
Disclosure: TLC Book Tours provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. The opinions and views are all mine.