top of page

The Half Moon

By Mary Beth Keene

A Touching Chronicle of a Family in Crisis



Malcolm Gephardt, a gregarious bartender in a small town, has always dreamed of owning his own bar.  When Hugh, his boss, finally retires, he offers Malcolm the opportunity to buy The Half Moon.  Malcolm jumps at the chance and quickly starts feeling the sting of financial distress.  Within months he is unable to pay his suppliers.  The bar puts a great deal of stress on Malcolm’s fifteen-year marriage to Jess.

Malcolm and Jess had already blown through all their savings over the past seven years on expensive fertility treatments.  They now face the reality that parenting is not in the cards for them.  Jess, an intelligent lawyer, is particularly devastated over this knowledge as she feels her youth slipping away.

Much of the novel occurs during a week when Malcolm hears earth-shattering news about Jess, a bar patron last seen at the bar, goes missing, and a freak blizzard paralyzes the town.


The Half Moon is a touching chronicle of a family in crisis.  It’s a family drama plucked from real life, exposing the meaning of family and forgiveness.  The frustrations of infertility, financial ruin, and mid-life in a small town play a considerable role in a story that explores the shocking depth people will go to when pushed to the brink.

The writing captures the gut-wrenching decisions that Malcolm and Jess have made over the years, leading them to the point of desperation.  Jess and Malcolm’s character development is superb, making you feel their pain, frustration, and sadness.

Author Mary Bath Keene has woven a family drama that will strike at the heart of many mid-life couples asking themselves, “Is this all there is?”

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher  Scribner

Published  May 2, 2023

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page