I discovered Jetta Carleton’s Clair de Lune purely by happy accident while perusing one of my favorite indie bookstores years ago. It’s charming story and lovely cover have graced my little home library since. I was intrigued by the claim that Clair de Lune was a much-delayed second novel from the author. Today, I’m excited to finally dive into the original New York Times bestseller that enchanted the world briefly in the early 1960s, only to be forgotten by the swift tides of popular opinion, The Moonflower Vine.
Originally published in 1962, The Moonflower Vine rose to the New York Times bestseller list quickly alongside J.D. Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and John Updike’s The Centaur. Published in 8 countries, selected for multiple book club lists (a big deal at the time–think Oprah’s or Ellen’s list of gifts around the holidays), and featured by Reader’s Digest, by all indicators Jetta Carleton was off to a lustrous literary career.
Unfortunately, popular interest quickly moved on and forgot all about Jetta Carleton and all her promised potential. Carleton went on to live a perfectly fulfilling life–she published The Moonflower Vine in her fifties after a successful career in advertising, she enjoyed a long and happy marriage, she even went on to work on others’ writing by opening her own publishing house. The Moonflower Vine even went on to enjoy a new entry into the limelight with the author’s death in 1999. A whole new generation of fans found her voice. Even more found it when her assumed-lost second novel, Clair de Lune, was published in 2012.
I look forward to joining them! Will you jump on the bandwagon with me?