Hang the Moon: A Novel (Hardcover)
April 2023 Indie Next List
“A rollicking adventure set in the Virginia mountains during Prohibition, starring the unforgettable Sallie Kincaid. To say she is bold and fearless would be unjust to her wit and vulnerability. This is a fun and thrilling read.”
— Sarah Goddin, McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC
Sallie Kinkaid appears to the outside world of Claiborne County, Virginia, to be a female version of the Duke, her indomitable father who she grew up believing "hung the moon and scattered the stars." But inside she's still the damaged little girl who lost her mother and was sent away when her father remarried. When Sallie returns to live in the Big House again, she's forced to confront the truth of her past and to try to heal the wounds within the family that remain.
Set during Prohibition, Hang the Moon is an historical fiction, coming-of-age, suspense novel that follows Sallie as she grows into a brave, independent woman who eventually inherits her father’s bootlegging empire–and all the power and responsibility that come with it. “I thought being in charge meant I was beholden to no one. What it truly means is that I am beholden to everyone.”
Inspired by Queen Elizabeth I, this is the story of a female child who was previously banished but ends up the leader of a patriarchal empire, refusing to marry and let a man control her. She’s tough, courageous, and has a moral compass that defines her interactions and decisions as she faces misogyny, patriarchal prejudice, class divisions, racism, religious persecution, and generational feuding (the War of the Roses). The novel showcases Walls’ storytelling skill and her ability to incorporate actual history (i.e., the real Queen of the Roanoke Rum Runners, as well as the Tudor dynasty) into an engaging tale full of flawed, not easily categorized characters.
— Shirley Wells
From Jeannette Walls, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, comes a riveting new novel about an indomitable young woman in Virginia during Prohibition.
Most folk thought Sallie Kincaid was a nobody who’d amount to nothing. Sallie had other plans.
Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid. Born at the turn of the 20th century into a life of comfort and privilege, Sallie remembers little about her mother who died in a violent argument with the Duke. By the time she is just eight years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie. While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral. When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out.
Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family. That’s a lot more complicated than Sallie expected, and she enters a world of conflict and lawlessness. Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.
You will fall in love with Sallie Kincaid, a feisty and fearless, terrified and damaged young woman who refuses to be corralled.
“A rip-roaring, action-packed novel set during Prohibition filled with head-spinning plot twists [and] enough dead bodies, doomed romances, and sudden betrayals to make you wonder if George R.R. Martin had decided to ditch fantasy for Southern Gothic.” —Jim Windolf, The New York Times
“There’s never a dull moment in ‘Hang the Moon,’ a rollicking tale set in Prohibition-era Virginia [with] hairpin twists and turns of its plot. Walls has spun another rich story. Also, it’s a lot of fun to read.” —Marion Winik, Washington Post
“You’ll fall in love with Sallie [Kincaid] on the very first page and keep rooting for her all the way through to the last.” —Good Housekeeping
“A propulsive read. “Hang the Moon” goes down easy and just a little too fast, like the forbidden whiskey that defines the life of Sallie Kincaid.” —Associated Press
“I couldn't open this book up fast enough. Hang the Moon is immersive from the very first page.” —Zibby Owens, “Good Morning America”
“Jeannette Walls is a force to be reckoned with… She has indisputably positioned herself as a writer of great worth, and any work of hers is one to be appreciated.” —Julia Hass, LitHub
“Walls has created a magnetic, irreverent dynamo in Sallie, whose transporting narration is incandescent with incisive observations, moral dilemmas, and startlingly gorgeous descriptions… Hang the Moon is vital, provocative, and intoxicating.” —Booklist, *starred review*
“Walls’s breathtaking latest… The thrilling plot culminates in bombshell revelations… Sallie makes for an indelible heroine.... This is a stunner.” —Publisher’s Weekly, *starred review*
"A rollicking soap opera that keeps the pages turning with a surfeit of births, deaths, and surprising plot reveals." —Kirkus, *starred review*