I’m obsessed with the turn of the century time period. I live in a late 1800’s house, I love Victorian furniture, and my favorite books take place in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Set the story in the south, especially Tennessee or Kentucky, and I’m in. The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher meets all that criteria, plus is based on a true story. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to review it.
The Moonlight School is the story of Lucy Wilson, an affluent young woman haunted by the mysterious death of her younger sister. When she goes to work for her cousin in the rural Appalachian mountains, Lucy discovers primitive conditions and intellectual poverty caused by adult illiteracy. Caught up in her cousin’s dream of teaching the adults to read, Lucy finds friends and romance.
This book reminded me very much of Christy, perhaps because they both take place in the Appalachians in roughly the same time period. The focus is different, but the characters are very much alike. At times, I felt like I’d already read this book because the characters seemed so familiar. But in the end, they each went in different directions than expected, giving them more depth than they appeared to have at first. Suzanne Woods Fisher did a great job of creating round characters, even giving some of the minor characters extra depth. She shows us how important it is to look past the superficial in order to discover the beauty and intellect and charm of individuals who are different than us.
Although The Moonlight School is a faith-based story, the faith elements are subtly woven into the story rather than taking a prominent position. Each character is dealing with his or her faith in a personal way. I loved, though, how she showed the beauty of worship in the woods.
If you enjoy historic fiction, if you like based-on true story novels, or if you’re just looking for an uplifting read on a rainy winter day, check out The Moonlight School.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are my own.