Book Review: Hang The Moon by Jeannette Walls #ProhibitionEra #bootlegging #HistoricalFiction


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 folks 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.


This is a sweeping saga of a town and a family during the days of prohibition. It is also a tale about how one man’s actions can affect a whole generation. It is so captivating that I read it in one sitting. The characters are easy to connect with, especially Sallie. The way that layers of family mystery are slowly, painfully unpeeled is masterful.

I especially appreciated the way Walls describes how someone with a magnetic personality can captivate and sometimes destroy others. I’ve seen it happen myself. The way Sallie grows from castoff child to a leader in the family is a true coming-of-age story. I highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction, prohibition-era fiction, and anyone who wants to read the work of a talented author.

I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Scribner, via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona and grew up in the American Southwest and Welch, West Virginia. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York for twenty-five years, writing for New York Magazine, Esquire, and MSNBC. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than eight years, has been translated into more than thirty languages and was made into a film starring Brie Larson. She is also the author of the best-selling novels The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review. Her new novel, Hang the Moon, was published by Scribner in March 2023. Walls lives in central Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.



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