Book Review

Twelfth Moon by Halli Starling

twelfth moon halli starling

Genre |Romance Novella
Page #s | 134
Publishing Date | December 2021

Elsie’s a small town with a lot of heart. Isn’t that how most small town romance stories begin? But this isn’t any love story. These five stories cross paths and connections, age, gender, sexuality, and different kinds of relationships. Stories like that of Harriet, the owner of Twelfth Moon perfumery and adopted mother to her nephew, Nu. Harriet always figured she’d be single for the rest of her life, but Dela Atwater appearing in her shop one blustery autumn day sparks something within her. A bit of romance and longing she’d long thought buried. 

And what about Nu, Harriet’s nephew? He’s quickly falling for Miles, who works in the coffee shop next door to Twelfth Moon. The shop is owned by Miles’s brother, Jones, who has his own ideas about sex and lust and romance (or lack thereof). Across town, Maeve is learning how to exist as a widower but when they meet Evie, a spark is lit. And Yuri, Nu’s best friend, is anxiously awaiting the holidays so he can see his girlfriend, Beckett, once more. 

It’s about hope and joy and queer love in so many shapes and forms, from the author of the dark fantasy/romance novel Wilderwood (“…will shatter readers’ expectations with its bewitching complexities…” – The BookLife Prize).


Twelfth Moon is a novella of five intersecting romances set in a small town queer utopia. It is a quintessential comfort read with a handy table of contents that informs readers what pairings to expect as well as where a story falls on a “sweet to smut” scale. Starling shines in her diverse characters and diverse relationships, and I especially loved how often the romantic stars were older women.

Every shade of the rainbow is represented here! I was most surprised to see a polyamorous non-monogomous pairing celebrated; because this is a romance novel, I was cringing, half expecting them to realize their love for each other would make them want to be only with each other. No! They stay true to their values and preferences while having a great time together.

Undoubtedly my favorite story was of a widow grieving her dead partner and connecting with someone and feeling romantic sparks for the first time in years. It is a sweet story that acknowledges the importance of honoring relationships while also being open to something new. It also doesn’t push characters into situations that wouldn’t make sense outside of a romance novel. Instead, we get to see a connection form and be happy for her to have found someone else that GETS her in the same way her partner once did.

Basically, we should all be so lucky as to live in Elsie. Starling has said we might get more from this setting, and I am ready for it!

Who Do I Recommend This Book To?

Gift Twelfth Moon to your friend who wants a queer pick-me-up that can be read during their commute.

Check out our Queer Lil Library for more book recommendations and reviews!

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