About the Book
Title: Under the Bayou Moon
Author: Valerie Fraser Luesse
Released: August, 2021
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Restless with the familiarity of her Alabama home, Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country. Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their culture, most of the people in tiny Bernadette, Louisiana, come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher as a boon to the town. She’s soon teaching just about everyone–and coming up against opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives.
Acclimating to a whole new world, Ellie meets a lonely but intriguing Cajun fisherman named Raphe who introduces her to the legendary white alligator that haunts these waters. Raphe and Ellie have barely found their way to each other when a huge bounty is offered for the elusive gator, bringing about a shocking turn of events that will test their love and their will to right a terrible wrong.
A master of the Southern novel, Valerie Fraser Luesse invites you to enter the sultry swamps of Louisiana in a story that illuminates the struggle for the heart and soul of the bayou.
Young Ellie Fields is about to enter a world very different from which she came. Will she try to change the people to match her cultural norms? Will she bow to pressure from powerful, yet nefarious persons who want to use her as a pawn? Will she find a new life, or will she return to the familiar one she fled?
Valerie Fraser Luesse writes so smoothly and enticingly in Under the Bayou Moon that I was under her magical spell after the first sentence. Luesse brings the sultry bayou out of the pages and delights the reader with its incredible sights, sounds, and smells.
I loved the friendship of Ellie and Raphe and Heywood. How beautiful! How enduring! A quote, not from the book, but so fitting for this trio, “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” When I finished Under the Bayou Moon, I felt I had been part of something sacred. Something that had little to do with “L’Esprit Blanc” as the white alligator was called.
Ellie chooses to befriend some young women who help her in the school. She befriends a group of grandparents who take on an incredible task in order to make life more pleasant for their beloved grandchildren. She befriends a precious older lady who lives near her borrowed cottage. All these relationships affect her life profoundly. And, of course, she befriends Rafe, Remy, and Heywood.
I would urge you to read this book, if you, like myself, are not from the ancient Bayou culture. This is the “Christy” of the Bayou.
“What she longed for was not change, but transformation.”
“If you ask me, it’s no less despicable to deny a child knowledge than to deny him food.”
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Revell Reads. I am voluntarily leaving my opinions (no positive review required), and all thoughts are my own.
About the Author
Valerie Fraser Luesse is the author of four novels set in the South: Christy Award winner Missing Isaac (2018), Almost Home (2019), The Key to Everything (2020), and the upcoming Under the Bayou Moon (August 2021), all published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. An award-winning magazine writer, Luesse is perhaps best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she wrote major pieces on the Mississippi Delta, Acadian Louisiana, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on the recovering Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, photographed by Mark Sandlin, won the 2009 Travel Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. Luesse earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Auburn University and Baylor University, respectively. She is a native of Harpersville, Alabama, and lives in Birmingham, where she is the senior travel editor for Southern Living. Find her online at valeriefraserluesse.com; facebook.com/valeriefraserluessebooks; bakerpublishinggroup.com; bookbub.com/authors/valerie-fraser-luesse; and goodreads.com