About the Book
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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“Oh, my stars and garters!” By the time I reached the 2nd chapter, my grin was firmly in place, stretching from ear-to-ear. Fisher recounts this remarkable tale of the real Cora Wilson Stewart, who campaigned for literacy in the Kentucky mountains, woven into fiction in a compelling, unforgettable novel. The Moonlight School is everything I’ve come to expect from Fisher and more. This is a tale of triumph of faith, perseverance, and a love for one’s neighbor’s plight that motivates action. The end brings so many pieces together, with twists I wouldn’t have seen coming.
Lucy is a very special heroine, changing from inept, unconcerned city-girl to caring, daring, and brave young woman, ready to fight for the rights of the mountain people.
Fisher gives creates a believable live triangle with Lucy and Andrew and Wyatt, then another with Lucy, Fin, and Angie. None of the characters are perfect, but some reach towards community betterment, while others reach only for what will benefit them. It is the ones who look out for the mountain folk who are “silent” that we learn to love. They share the following sentiment:
“The only way to lift people is to teach them to lift themselves. Literacy is the only road to true freedom… literacy gives a voice to the silent.”
I was amazed by the discovery that Cora makes through Miss Mollie that turns her educational philosophy upside down. I was also amazed by the natural teaching ability of Angie and her willingness to share with others when she is so antagonistic towards Lucy. I was proud of Lucy for tackling a job that she isn’t the best at yet filling in because she is needed. The original pronunciations of the mountain folk make the book authentic, while the explanations of their need to hang on to their culture from the Old Country, caused me to think differently than I had before. A hearty five stars to this beautiful book from Suzanne Woods Fisher!
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley, as well as Library Thing. These are my own, unsolicited opinions.
About the Author
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.