Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical Romance
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.
Inspired by the true events of the Moonlight Schools, this standalone novel from bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings to life the story that shocked the nation into taking adult literacy seriously. You'll finish the last page of this enthralling story with deep gratitude for the gift of reading.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an incredible homage to Cora Wilson Stewart, a woman who dedicated her life to stamping out illiteracy.
Lucy Wilson arrives in the Appalachian mountains, fresh from the city, to be a stenographer for her Aunt Cora. She had no idea that meant going into the hills on a horse (which she had never done before) and reading and writing letters for those who couldn't do it for themselves. Lucy is appalled at the poverty but more shocked that most adults on the mountain couldn't read. At Cora's insistence, that was all going to change with her idea to teach all the adults to read at Moonlight Schools.
There are so many interesting characters in this book! I felt like I just spent the last two days on a mountain, getting to know them. Each character was so fully developed and real to me that I will miss them terribly. This book is a keeper and will stay with me for a long time.
Never again will I take reading for granted. I have such a massive appreciation for my teachers now, and you will too when you finish this book. Kudos to the author!
I highly recommend this one!
I received this book courtesy of Revell through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Cheryl Wood
“If you don’t mind a bit of advice, be careful not to judge mountain folks by city standards. We’re all human beings and have thoughts and dreams like everybody else.”
The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a story about the life of Cora Wilson Stewart in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky during 1911, she brought literacy to the illiterate mountain folks.
A story of perseverance, love, and faith. Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky to help her cousin, Cora Wilson Stewart. Lucy comes from the city and gets more than she bargained for as she becomes a caring young lady who is ready to fight for the rights of the mountain people. Moonlight Schools based on a true story brings illiteracy to the front.
I enjoyed the book and am now more aware of how many people can not read and how it can affect them. Part historical fiction, part true events, part love story. The Moonlight School brings to light the story that shocked a nation into taking adult literacy. A must read! I highly recommend the book.
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Gee Dixon
This story I really liked. The history in the story is remarkable. I loved the mountains and the hollar people that were so down to earth and how Cora wanted to get as many as she could reading and doing arithmetic. It was full of inspiration and I really enjoyed the character of Pastor Wyatt. The story was very entertaining but the history is what stood out to me. This was an awesome read.
I received this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Deanne Patterson
I enjoy reading Suzanne Woods Fisher's books because they are so descriptive and full of substance.
I have learned a lot while reading this book. I have read many books on the Appalachia area but none this detailed in descriptions of the characters, beliefs, superstitions, mannerisms and language.
This is based on a true story that will captivate you with not only it's history but there is a mystery we are following here as well.
Illiteracy and poverty are no stranger to the folks of the hollers and hills of rural Rowan County, Kentucky in 1911. The author really brings to life the legacy of Cora Wilson Stewart's life through her diligent historical research.
Combating adult illiteracy isn't easy, the moonlight schools were opened but would anyone come to them?
Fascinating! This is my favorite book by this author to date.
This book was provided by Baker Publishing Group, Revell Division, through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
There aren’t enough words to give adequate praise to this book. It was everything I would expect from this author, and even more. The story was rich with imagery of the Appalachian mountains and the culture of its people in the early twentieth century. The characters had depth and unique personalities, and I was invested in the outcome of their story.
Lucy is a city girl afraid to live her life after the disappearance of her sister years before. Sent to the mountains to work, she doesn’t fit in but is inexplicably drawn to the people in the hollers. Soon two men, one of power and charm, another of faith and quiet strength, capture her interest for different reasons.
Fin and Angie’s unacknowledged crush and the subsequent clash of wills were endearing, and Cora was a force to be reckoned with, an anchor for the story.
Ultimately this is a can’t miss book full of love, community, and faith. I highly recommend it!
I received this book from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group through Interviews & Reviews via NetGalley and this is my honest assessment of the book.
Reviewer: Raechel Kelly
What first drew me to this book was the cover, and the author - I've read a couple of her contemporary books, and thought a historical fiction title by her would be worth the read!
The Moonlight School is based on something I actually hadn't heard of before, but I love that it is based on a true story. The notes at the end of the book are very fascinating and I appreciate how true to real life, the author depicted the character of Cora Stewart.
I enjoyed this story, though I feel like it lacked some of the depth I was hoping for. Every time we seemed on the precipice of depth, the moment moved on.
There was still great meaning behind the story, and I enjoyed getting the glimpse into the mountain life of the people. Brother Wyatt was definitely my favorite character - he had a real heart for God and I loved seeing that play out across the pages.
There were some things that were left primarily unresolved, such as Angie and Finley - so much was built up around those two that I expected something to come of them. But it's easy to imagine an ending for their stories, I suppose.
A good story that shed light on an important event in the history of literacy.
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Adriann Harris
Alert Everyone! You have to read this amazing story written by Suzanne Woods Fisher called The Moonlight School. The author’s seamless prose flowed effortlessly between fact and fiction engaging me in a delightful heartfelt story of kindred, empathy, kindness, and faith which kept me turning the pages.
This historical fiction book is based on Cora Wilson Stewart, the actual first superintendent of schools, who founded the Moonlight School to help eliminate adult illiteracy deep in Appalachia, Rowan County, Kentucky. It was Cora’s tenacity and sheer determination, along with dedicated teachers, who taught without pay, and adults hungry to learn, that made the dream a success in nearly eliminating adult illiteracy in the county.
All of the heart gripping characters young and old will captivate you as you witness their awe-inspiring journeys learning to read and write. Did I have favorites? Yes, right from the beginning I fell in love with young Finley James, smart as a whip, who fought schooling with every fiber of his being, and Mollie McGlothin, an elderly woman, who spellbound my heart throughout the story.
The Moonlight School is an inspiring story for young and old alike. Highly recommend, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I received a complimentary copy of this book courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews and NetGalley.
Reviewer: Nancy J. Brown
This book is a great historical fiction book about a little-known woman, Cora Wilson Stewart, and the schools she spearheaded. The Moonlight Schools in Kentucky in 1911 were the beginning of hope and education for the illiterate adults in that area. The story revolves around three fictitious people, Lucy, Wyatt, and Finley James. Lucy is a cousin of Cora's, and at the request of her father, becomes a kind of secretary and helper to her. I'm hoping there is a sequel to this engrossing topic.
The characters were very well developed, and I was interested in what events took place and their viewpoints. This was a well-written book, but I was hoping for a more in-depth history of the Moonlight Schools and Cora Wilson. Still, it was well developed, exceptional writing, and enjoyable development of the storylines. Suzanne Woods Fisher is very talented and can present a story that engages the reader throughout the book. I recommend this book to people interested in how adult illiteracy was addressed, and teaching adults how to read was accomplished.
The cover was eye-catching. I was very much intrigued by the story behind the cover, a single woman in early 1900's style, long skirt, shawl, hair pulled back in a conservative bun, holding a lantern to light her way, with a backdrop of a full moon. An appealing book, I looked forward to reading it each day. Again, this is probably my personal perspective, but I REALLY hoped for more history about the schools' actual students and the teacher and the materials used.
It had a good Christian message and several mentions of salvation, faith, and trusting God. Wyatt was more instrumental in bringing up those themes of hope and trust in God than the other characters, and his story was very interesting.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in clean, Godly Christian historical fiction.
I received this book courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
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