Sarah of the Moon by Randy Mixter
SARAH OF THE MOON by Randy Mixter
When Randy approached The Reading Café about reviewing his latest novel, Barb and I were backlogged with books, novellas and interviews, that I thought this would be one story for a rainy afternoon. After writing another review, I came back to Randy’s email and thought I would take a quick look at Sarah of the Moon. Well, that quick look turned into an hour and before I realized it, I had finished the book.
Sarah of the Moon is a sweet, gentle story. Set against the backdrop of 1967 Haight-Ashbury Hippie era, Randy takes us on one young man’s journey of discovery-hippies, drugs, freedom, war, peace and love. Alex Conley is our ‘hero’. As the son of a retired colonel, Alex respects his father’s choices and life as a military man, but Alex strives for something different. The Vietnam War is in full swing, and like most young men of his age, the draft would soon be calling.
It was the summer of his 18th year, and Alex was working for the local newspaper when his editor Max Bestwick, sends him to San Francisco for a couple of months. His assignment-to write about the hippies in the Haight-Ashbury district. Seeing this as an opportunity of a lifetime, Alex jumps at the chance and is soon ensconced in the lifestyle of the time. We meet the residents of the house-Chick (Max’s wayward nephew), the self- proclaimed leader of the group, as well as Belladonna (Chick’s girlfriend), the Hope sisters (resident cooks) Cowboy, Sandman, Celeste and Matt, Skip, Benny, Oswald and Jezebel. A house open to anyone needing a home. A place to rest or simply someone with whom to talk. But it is Sarah, who catches Alex’s eye. Sarah is as mysterious as she is beautiful. And Sarah has a few secrets of her own.
Sarah is an enigma. She is a free spirit who dances every evening on Hippie Hill, to a tune only she can hear, but a tune Alex once heard in a dream. For it is Sarah of the Moon, who once entered into Alex’s dreams and told him of things to come. And along with Chick, it is Sarah who will introduce Alex to the many facets of life as a hippie. Alex meets an assortment of wandering souls and people hoping to make a difference. But it was the death of her parents that led Sarah to Haight-Ashbury. And it is their spirit that continues to nurture the child within.
Alex’s summer of ‘love’ ends as the people he has grown to love, come to the realization that life goes on, whether you are standing still or running wild. Each must make a decision and take the next step towards their future. But Alex’s decision has been made for him-he must report for basic training in 3 weeks.
Sarah of the Moon is a love story without a HEA. Sarah and Alex promise to meet again, but promises are sometimes like the grains of sand-many are grabbed but most will fall away. Alex returns from Vietnam hoping to find Sarah, but years of searching are fruitless, and the little reminders of the past, will continue to haunt him for many years to come.
Randy writes a beautiful story, without the use of foul language, graphic violence or sex. His characters are real, their emotions are tactile and his use of descriptive narration brings the Haight –Ashbury hippies to life-once again. As a reader, I put myself into the storylines, to get a sense of action and drama and with Sarah of the Moon it was no different. I lived the life of a hippie, for a few weeks in the summer of 1967.
Reviewed by Sandy