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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With all the reading I do, I can’t believe I have never heard of Cora Wilson Stewart. The author does a great job of mixing fiction with facts in this story that has become dear to my heart. I started reading as a young child and would stay up past my bedtime to finish a book. It opened up places I could travel to without leaving my house. This story is one I think everyone should read. Why, you ask? Simply because they need to know how special it is to know how to read and be introduced to a woman who helped those who couldn’t.
I loved Cora and her big heart for wanting everyone to read and write. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to do those things. We take things for granted in our lives and this story reminds me to be thankful at all times. The people in the mountains were secluded from everything and they lived a hard life. Cora never complained about helping them write letters or read to them.
Lucy was a young woman who comes to help Cora out. I can see her eyes get big as she traveled to the backwoods where people were happy and content with their lives. To Lucy she knew she was privileged but never thought of herself better than others. I liked how she pitched in and soon discovered she was needed there to help those who couldn’t read. I did like the part in the story about Lucy’s sister that had been missing for years. It was an interesting part of the book and gave us a glimpse of what someone might do when tragedy strikes their own life. I won’t say more about this because I don’t want to give anything away.
The book illustrates what it was like during the early 1910s. People in the mountains never came to town and kept to themselves. They helped each other out but never meddled in each other’s personal business. It is possible that some were superstitious and were fearful that something would happen if they didn’t listen to those that believed. I loved learning more about this time period and thought the author did a great job in making the story come to life. I liked the faith element and especially learning about the mountain music. The people were not ashamed to worship and loved spending time in His presence.
I am so glad this story was written so others can know the importance of literacy. Cora had a dream to give every person the chance to learn how to read . She worked long hours but it was worth it when she heard someone read for the first time. The school was a brilliant idea and with faith Cora saw it come to pass. A true hero who has been overlooked for years. Hopefully this book will bring to the forefront about a woman who followed the call on her life.
“ Happy are those whose purpose has found them.”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
Carol award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, Suzanne is the best-selling author of more than thirty books, ranging from non-fiction books, to children’s books, to novels. She lives with her very big family in northern California.
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.