Title: The Moonlight School
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: Feb 2, 2021
Length: 320 Pages
About the Book:
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.
Oh, how I loved this read! If only it could be a series, because I loved the characters in this one so much I’m not ready to let them go! Although the story was told from the POV of 4 different characters (which can seem daunting), it managed to enrich the narrative that I don’t believe could have been achieved otherwise. One of the hurtles Lucy had in becoming someone trusted by the mountain people, was that she had to think outside of herself (and her upbringing), to try and see the world through their eyes without looking down on them as merely poor, illiterate folks. By seeing part of the story through others’ eyes, you see that it takes willingness and vulnerability from both sides to build trust and friendship with one another. The author did a wonderful job of weaving this all together as the story progressed towards progressive hope for the future.
I was surprised that although the book blurb made the novel appear like it was going to be focused on the midnight schools, that wasn’t exactly the case. Instead, the story centered more around the time leading up to their inception rather than in the midst of their tenure. In no way do I consider this a bad thing though. The author weaved together a powerful prose simply impeccable in its delivery.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: always read the authors notes when provided. There was only one element to this story that bugged me because I felt it was too far fetched, but then I was surprised in the end to discover that it was something that had actually happened. So problem solved, I was wrong haha. But I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t take the time to read the author’s note.
I absolutely loved this story, and highly recommend to my other historical fiction lovers!
*I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishers. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.