About the Book
The Moonlight School
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Haunted by her sister’s mysterious disappearance, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to work for Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of education. When Cora sends Lucy into the hills to act as scribe for the mountain people, she is repelled by the primitive conditions and intellectual poverty she encounters. Few adults can read and write.
Born in those hills, Cora knows the plague of illiteracy. So does Brother Wyatt, a singing schoolmaster who travels through the hills. Involving Lucy and Wyatt, Cora hatches a plan to open the schoolhouses to adults on moonlit nights. The best way to combat poverty, she believes, is to eliminate illiteracy. But will the people come?
As Lucy emerges from a life in the shadows, she finds purpose; or maybe purpose finds her. With purpose comes answers to her questions, and something else she hadn’t expected: love.
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“ Happy are those whose purpose has found them.”
Lucy Wilson agrees to go to Morehead, Kentucky to help her cousin Cora with clerical duties but she believes that in six months she will return to her privileged life in Lexington. Little does she know that she'll soon be riding horseback into the hills and hollows of Rowan County, witnessing living conditions she never dreamed possible, and teaching children how to read. She wasn't meant to be a teacher! Singing teacher Brother Wyatt offers her friendship and encourgement, but more importantly, a chance to grow spiritually. Is it possible that their relationship may deepen into something more, as they work with Cora to provide night schools for the many illiterate adults of Rowan County, Kentucky?
I KNEW I had to read this book when I first heard it mentioned last fall. I live about twenty-five miles from Morehead so I've long known about Cora Wilson Stewart and the Moonlight Schools but, after reading this story, I truly understand this tremendous legacy. It's apparent that a lot of time and effort went into researching Stewart's life and Susanne Woods Fisher has seamlessly integrated fictional characters and historical facts into a heartwarming story that you won't soon forget! These realistic characters are so endearing and I found myself often referring to the end notes to see who was a real person!
The difficulties encountered and the long ago disappearance of Lucy's baby sister add intrigue to Fisher's well-written plot but the real strength of The Moonlight School is in the depiction of emotions experienced by both teachers and students. We all know the joy young children feel when learning to read but try to understand the tremendous sense of accomplishment felt by adult men and women who had been illiterate all of their lives! This is historical fiction at its finest and an excellent reminder of the value of literacy. I highly recommend The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher.
I voluntarily accepted a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was in no way obligated to write a positive review. These are my own thoughts.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
About the Author
Carol award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, Suzanne is the best-selling author of more than thirty books, ranging from non-fiction books, to children’s books, to novels. She lives with her very big family in northern California.
More from Suzanne
I’m Suzanne Woods Fisher, the author of The Moonlight School. This historical fiction will release on February 2, 2021, and is based on a true story featuring Cora Wilson Stewart, a Kentucky educator way ahead of her times. In 1911, Cora had a crazy idea—to open rural one-room schoolhouses in her county on moonlit nights to teach illiterate adults how to read and write.
So what happened next? Well, it’s so astonishing that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Instead, I hope you’ll read the book and find out for yourself.
In the meantime, this infographic provides a fascinating look at illiteracy THEN…and NOW. Makes you want to thank your teachers, doesn’t it?
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To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.