Once in a Blue Moon is a contemporary romance novel. Fourteen years ago, Tate Jones and her grandmother, Judith, went on a once in a lifetime trip to London. On the very first day at breakfast, they meet Sam and his grandfather Luther.
This post is spoiler-full! If you’re looking for a more general review, visit Experiences and Reflections.
Tate and Sam are attracted to each other and start spending more time together. Tate has a big secret: her real name is Tate Butler. Her father is a star, Ian Butler. She and her mother moved from LA to live with her grandmother in a small town, and changed their last name to avoid the press.
Tate has had to keep her secret for 10 years. Swept away in first love, she confides all to Sam. She shares her family secret as well as her desire to pursue acting. Sam is not her first boyfriend but he is her first love, and they spend evenings together making love and sharing secrets in the garden. For the first time, Tate learns her story from the perspective of the public, from the tabloids, when she asks Sam to share what he knows with her.
Sam tells Tate about her father’s affairs. Her father and mother broke up after his costar became pregnant with his child. The costar miscarried and Ian Butler went on to live his life. What Tate learns challenges some of the memories she has of her childhood. For example, she thought that her mother decided to come and get her from LA airport to protect her on a visit to her father; Sam shared that the tabloids reported that her father forgot to pick her up.
The morning after Sam and Tate told each other that they were falling in love with the other, Sam was distant at breakfast. Later that day, Tate discovered that her secret was out in the tabloids. They knew all the details of her life and her mother’s. When she tried to find Sam, he and his grandfather had checked out.
After the secret was out, Tate and her grandmother quickly left England and returned home. A manager, Marco, met Tate at the airport. This is when she found out that she had a trust from the child support her father had been paying, and she became responsible for the the trust at the age of 18.
Tate’s life changed completely. She moved to LA and pursued an acting career. Suddenly, her father was back in her life. They spinned the story as if they had released the secret to help Tate launch her career as an actress.
Forteen years later, Tate and her father are finally ready to act together in a film. To Tate’s surprise, the writer is Sam, the man who betrayed her years ago. He had tried to send her four emails so that she would know his involvement with the project before committing to it, but the emails ended up in Junk Mail and her personal assistant missed them.
Before Sam came back into the picture, Tate was attracted to Nick. Once Sam showed up, old feelings came back. Then as she started acting in the movie, Tate realized that the story was the one Sam had told her of his grandparents, of the opposition that his grandmother Roberta faced when she started dating and then married a black man, Luther. Sam was not Luther’s biological grandchild but that did not impact their family bond and relationship.
At first, Tate was upset because she thought that Sam was married. He explained that he was divorced and that his ex-wife was remarried and expecting twins; that’s whom she’d overheard him speaking to every night.
Healing Old Wounds
When he revealed that he’d betrayed her to get money to afford treatment for Luther’s cancer, which they found out about after his last night with Tate, and that he’d do it again because his grandfather got an extra year, Tate starts to soften. She realizes the difficult decision that Sam had to make. Sam and Tate start spending more time together and admitting their feelings for each other.
One night, her father overheard them talking about how Sam had been the one to sell her secret to the tabloids. He’d never been told the truth before. After a dinner between Tate and her father, the tabloids accosted them asking if Sam had been the one to out her secret. Tate realized that her father was the fading star trying to do anything to maintain his popularity. He tried to tell her that all publicity was good publicity but she was not ready to forgive him for his choice. She realized that her relationship with her father would never be what she wants it to be.
The Ending of Twice in a Blue Moon
This time, Sam calls Tate to make sure that she knows he’s not the one who called the tabloids. It takes 8 days of escape with her grandmother and mother to the beach in South Carolina, and a visit and coaching from Marco before Tate reads the old, accidentally missed emails. In them, he explains his actions in the past and admits that he still loves her.
Marco books a ticket for Tate; her grandmother and mother have packed her a bag. She knows what to do. Playing the part of Ellen, the character based on Roberta, has taught her what she needs to know about love. She finds out where Sam lives and shows at the farm where he grew up. They meet in the yard, where Sam scoops up Tate and expresses his joy in seeing her. They decide to face the tabloids together this time. The story ends with them lying side by side on the ground looking up at the sky.