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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. B 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.


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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. B 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.

30 review for The Moonlight School

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

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  2. 4 out of 5

    Vonda

    I was on the fence throughout this one. It was masterful storytelling of a sweet, clean historical fiction about life in the Appalacia and their customs with a bit of romance. Whilst the book is rather slow moving It does give an enlightening look at the language and lifestyles of the people in the hollers.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie DeMoss

    Haunted by her sister's mysterious disappearance, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to work for her cousin, Cora Wilson Stewart, Superintendent of Education. Lucy reluctantly becomes a scribe for the mountain people and goes into the hills to write their dictated letters, for few of them can read and write. Slowly Lucy begins to grow close to the mountain people and to Brother Wyatt, a singing school master. This is a very nice historical Christian romance that Haunted by her sister's mysterious disappearance, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to work for her cousin, Cora Wilson Stewart, Superintendent of Education. Lucy reluctantly becomes a scribe for the mountain people and goes into the hills to write their dictated letters, for few of them can read and write. Slowly Lucy begins to grow close to the mountain people and to Brother Wyatt, a singing school master. This is a very nice historical Christian romance that reminds me in many ways of Catherine Marshall's book "Christy." While not quite as gritty, realistic, and brutally honest as "Christy," this is still a very accurate look at the people of Appalachia in the early 1900s. The story is compelling and the true history of Cora Wilson Stewart is fascinating. I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    I can't imagine not being able to read. I read every single day. This was something else to read about. Fisher has really out done herself with this one. The Kentucky setting was spot on I know I lived there for a short time. There was a lot of uneducated people there. Many can not read they had to work for the families to survive. I don't know how Fisher came up with the story but it is one that you won't soon forget. I gave this book 4 stars I hope that will grab a copy. The Mary Reader received I can't imagine not being able to read. I read every single day. This was something else to read about. Fisher has really out done herself with this one. The Kentucky setting was spot on I know I lived there for a short time. There was a lot of uneducated people there. Many can not read they had to work for the families to survive. I don't know how Fisher came up with the story but it is one that you won't soon forget. I gave this book 4 stars I hope that will grab a copy. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    I enjoy reading Suzanne Woods Fisher's books because they are so descriptive and full of substance. I have learned a lot while reading this book. I have read many books on the Appalachia area but none this detailed in descriptions of the characters,beliefs,superstitions,mannerisms and language. This is based on a true story that will captivate you with not only it's history but there is a mystery we are following here as well. Illiteracy and poverty are no stranger to the folks of the hollers and h I enjoy reading Suzanne Woods Fisher's books because they are so descriptive and full of substance. I have learned a lot while reading this book. I have read many books on the Appalachia area but none this detailed in descriptions of the characters,beliefs,superstitions,mannerisms and language. This is based on a true story that will captivate you with not only it's history but there is a mystery we are following here as well. Illiteracy and poverty are no stranger to the folks of the hollers and hills of rural Rowan County, Kentucky in 1911 and the author really brings to life the legacy of Cora Wilson Stewart's life through her diligent historical research. Combating adult illiteracy isn't easy, the moonlight schools were opened but would anyone come to them? Fascinating! This is my favorite book by this author to date. I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Campbell

    Talented storyteller Suzanne Woods Fisher shines a light on a revelatory chapter of American history in "The Moonlight School". Blending fact and fiction, and introducing real life figures to created characters, the author weaves an inspiring tale which focuses on adult illiteracy in 20th Century Kentucky. "Moonlight Schools" got their name because classes for adults were held in children's daytime one-room schools on nights when the moon cast enough light for students to see the paths and trail Talented storyteller Suzanne Woods Fisher shines a light on a revelatory chapter of American history in "The Moonlight School". Blending fact and fiction, and introducing real life figures to created characters, the author weaves an inspiring tale which focuses on adult illiteracy in 20th Century Kentucky. "Moonlight Schools" got their name because classes for adults were held in children's daytime one-room schools on nights when the moon cast enough light for students to see the paths and trails to the school buildings. In the Spring of 1911, Lucy Wilson is sent by her father to rural Rowan County, KY to assist her cousin Cora (real-life historical heroine, Cora Wilson Stewart) in the fight for literacy by providing reading and writing lessons for adults seeking to improve their lives. Raised in privilege, Lucy is taken aback by the poverty and age-old primitiveness of the lifestyles she encounters. However, as time passes, she begins to see a simplistic beauty in the people and the surroundings. A certain young man of a fine character, Brother Wyatt, catches her interest and stirs her heart. Long haunted by the childhood disappearance of her younger sister, Charlotte, Lucy will also discover unexpected, life-changing news about what really happened to her sister all those years ago. This story really resonated with me because one of my goals is to promote literacy--there are still many people in the United States and the world who are struggling with literacy. Improving reading skills boosts self-esteem, opens up the world, enables informed decision making, and brings forth all kinds of new opportunities. People who read for pleasure have good imaginations, an ability to think outside the box, and the vision to go beyond black and white to see all the shades in between. Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wonderful writer, and she brings these people and their place in history to life with great care and detail. Highly recommended. Book Copy Gratis Revell Books via LibraryThing

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an excellent southern historical fiction that has it all: HF, strong female characters, based on true people and events, a little romance, and a strong/positive message and ending. I love books that are inspired by history, and this book takes the fiery and wonderful Cora Wilson Stewart and her quest to help eliminate adult illiteracy in deep Appalachia, Rowan County, Kentucky, and add a wonderful side story and narrative to her implementation of th The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an excellent southern historical fiction that has it all: HF, strong female characters, based on true people and events, a little romance, and a strong/positive message and ending. I love books that are inspired by history, and this book takes the fiery and wonderful Cora Wilson Stewart and her quest to help eliminate adult illiteracy in deep Appalachia, Rowan County, Kentucky, and add a wonderful side story and narrative to her implementation of the Moonlight schools. Being from Appalachia myself, I was initially drawn to this story of a fascinating woman in history that added an important piece of education to the early 1900s. I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful story and additional characters created simultaneously to create a heartwarming story of compassion, passion, selflessness, community, purpose, faith, and the desire to be a part of something and to have a place to call home. I love what the author did with Ms. Stewart and I think she did her justice with this book. I love the additional stories of Lucy, Finley James, Brother Wyatt, and the other cast of characters that the author so painstakingly created to go along perfect with the narrative. It all ran seamlessly and beautifully. I also enjoyed the Author’s historical notes at the end and the Fact vs Fiction information. It all really added to the book. 5/5 stars enthusiastically Thank you NetGalley and Revell Publishing for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Instagram, and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 2/2/21.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chautona Havig

    What if the Secret to Your Future Lies in the Past? As a girl, one of my favorite books was Catherine Marshall’s book, Christy. One young woman’s determination to make a difference in the lives of people she saw as needing her and, in the process, learning just how much she could learn from them. Well, The Moonlight School has some of the same elements of self-discovery, misguided intentions, and fierce determination. That said, this book isn’t the same–not by a long shot. Written with fierce atte What if the Secret to Your Future Lies in the Past? As a girl, one of my favorite books was Catherine Marshall’s book, Christy. One young woman’s determination to make a difference in the lives of people she saw as needing her and, in the process, learning just how much she could learn from them. Well, The Moonlight School has some of the same elements of self-discovery, misguided intentions, and fierce determination. That said, this book isn’t the same–not by a long shot. Written with fierce attention to detail and laser-point focus on one element–education of the mountain folk of Kentucky–every element of the story, even the seemingly insignificant ones, all point to that focus. Literacy. Something about Ms. Fisher’s writing felt a little different in this one–not better or worse, just different. I could smell the cabins, feel the gullywashers pouring down, hear the mispronounced words spoken in their lyrical twang. Not once did it feel exaggerated, contrived, or overdone. If you’ve ever read Mark Twain, you know how easy it is to do that! But the characters… oh, how I loved (and hated) the characters. Her cousin, Cora, had a bit of “Miss Alice” of Christy fame in her, but she had more spit and vinegar to her, too. Lucy had a beautiful character arc growth that gnawed at my heart and made me want to cheer at the same time. But Finley… oh, that boy. I so wanted to grab him, shake him, and beg him to allow himself to be a boy for the short while he had to be. Still, I knew that he needed to be the man he saw himself as, too. And Wyatt… ahh… Wyatt. My beloved “Titus” from another book has a rival for my literary hero affections. Wyatt wasn’t perfect, but how he handled his own imperfections made him perfect… And that was perfect, too. Wyatt is also responsible for the richness and depth of spiritual content in the book. I found myself convicted by his admonition to really look at the world the Lord had made. He urged her not to take it for granted. To love people and give what they truly needed instead of what “seems right for the moment.” Furthermore, Wyatt challenges Lucy to see her past. Through that exercise, only then can she see what the Lord might have in store for her. Recommended for lovers of historical fiction, well-written books, and Suzanne Woods Fisher. Also, if you were intrigued by the idea of the True Colors Crime Series but didn’t like the crime aspect, this might be an alternate idea. Five-star read all the way. I’m thrilled that I requested that review copy, and am pleased that I loved it as much as I did. Not only that it’s fighting for position as favorite book of the year so far. I suspect it will win.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    I loved this book! I was hooked and didn’t want to put it down. I loved how Lucy changed throughout this book. I really loved Wyatt, Fin, Cora, and even Angie. I really enjoyed how they worked together to help teach the illiterate mountain people to read so they could have better lives. The author did such a good job describing the mountain people and their rich history. I would definitely recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a posit I loved this book! I was hooked and didn’t want to put it down. I loved how Lucy changed throughout this book. I really loved Wyatt, Fin, Cora, and even Angie. I really enjoyed how they worked together to help teach the illiterate mountain people to read so they could have better lives. The author did such a good job describing the mountain people and their rich history. I would definitely recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Hudson

    SOUL-STIRRING! Think for a moment how difficult your life would be if you could not read or write. I suppose for most of us, the closet thing we can equate this to would be attempting to read something in a foreign language. Yet, I believe many of us could still deduct at least a few words out of a sentence or two because of some similarities we remember from some Spanish, French or Latin Class way back in our Youth! What if you were an adult 30, 40, or 50 years old and never, ever even learned t SOUL-STIRRING! Think for a moment how difficult your life would be if you could not read or write. I suppose for most of us, the closet thing we can equate this to would be attempting to read something in a foreign language. Yet, I believe many of us could still deduct at least a few words out of a sentence or two because of some similarities we remember from some Spanish, French or Latin Class way back in our Youth! What if you were an adult 30, 40, or 50 years old and never, ever even learned the alphabet? When you conducted any type of legal business, you signed your name with an “X” because you had no idea how to write your name? You had to depend on what someone TOLD you were in the Legal Documents you signed but you had no way to know if what they said was the TRUTH! How could you ever hope to escape the poverty you were born in? What if you were fortunate enough to go to school and your teacher had only had to pass Grade 8 Exams to qualify to teach? This is the reality of Rowan County, Kentucky, in the Spring of 1911. Intellectual illiteracy and the challenge of what to do about it. Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a soul-stirring story for the ages! Inspired by the true events of the Moonlight Schools, Fisher brings this story to life by making the characters come alive and tell the story (their story) that shocked the nation into taking adult literacy seriously. These people and their story will completely capture your heart! Upon completion of reading this book, the reader will be thankful for many things; the two main ones being that they took time to read this book and heartfelt gratitude for the gift of reading. I was provided a complimentary copy of this novel by Revell and NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Raechel Lenore

    3.5 What first drew me to this book was the cover, and the author - I've read a couple of her contemporary books, and thought a historical fiction title by her would be worth the read! "The Moonlight School" is based on something I actually hadn't heard of before, but I love that it is based on a true story. The notes at the end of the book are very fascinating and I appreciate how true to real life the author depicted the character of Cora Stewart.I enjoyed this story, though I feel like it lack 3.5 What first drew me to this book was the cover, and the author - I've read a couple of her contemporary books, and thought a historical fiction title by her would be worth the read! "The Moonlight School" is based on something I actually hadn't heard of before, but I love that it is based on a true story. The notes at the end of the book are very fascinating and I appreciate how true to real life the author depicted the character of Cora Stewart.I enjoyed this story, though I feel like it lacked some of the depth I was hoping for. Every time we seemed on the precipice of depth, the moment moved on. There was still great meaning behind the story, and I enjoyed getting the glimpse into the Mountain life of the people. Brother Wyatt was definitely my favorite character - he had a real heart for God and I loved seeing that play out across the pages.There were some things that were left primarily unresolved, such as Angie and Finley - so much was built up around those two that I expected something to come of them. But it's easy to imagine an ending for their stories, I suppose.A good story that shed light on an important event in the history of literacy. This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "An education, she believed, was the great equalizer, the answer to all life's injustices." When her newly re-married father permits her to travel far from the city and into the mountains, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky prepared to help her cousin Cora Wilson Stewart with what she thinks is an overwhelming amount of paperwork; after all, her cousin is overseeing more than than fifty one-room schoolhouses through out the remote county communities. Startled to learn that a great deal "An education, she believed, was the great equalizer, the answer to all life's injustices." When her newly re-married father permits her to travel far from the city and into the mountains, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky prepared to help her cousin Cora Wilson Stewart with what she thinks is an overwhelming amount of paperwork; after all, her cousin is overseeing more than than fifty one-room schoolhouses through out the remote county communities. Startled to learn that a great deal of her job would be spent on horseback, Lucy pushes down her apprehensions, preconceptions, and inhibitions to forge ahead; meeting and assisting an array of ages, egos and personalities among the mostly illiterate "hill people". What she ends up finding is a purpose, something far more valuable than a finishing school education or a healthy allowance, for Lucy now understands that "all things can work together for good", even if it means "some things are best forgotten". Dipping into the life of the very real Cora Wilson Stewart, through the eyes of a imagined young woman, whose childhood tragedy still strained to suffocate her confidence as a young adult, was a pure delight. Readers will enjoy every "trek" through the woods, every note of birdsong, every joy and discovery that education delivered into the hands of young and old alike, while turning the pages of "The Moonlight School". The perfect blend of bleak and beautiful! "Her breath caught, overcome by an unconscious awareness that swirled up somewhere deep inside her and filled her conscious mind. She loved this place. Loved the hills and the hollows and the people who lived there. She loved knowing she had a purpose to fulfill here. And for the first time in her life she knew what it was."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This was such an interesting and informative historical fiction about the moonlight schools in Kentucky. Lucy grew up as a wealthy child of a man who owned a lumber company. She ends up going to her cousin, Cora's, in Kentucky to help her. Cora is in charge of the schools up in the mountains. Of course, in the beginning there is a huge culture shock for Lucy but as she learns more about the people, will her heart melt? Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own. This was such an interesting and informative historical fiction about the moonlight schools in Kentucky. Lucy grew up as a wealthy child of a man who owned a lumber company. She ends up going to her cousin, Cora's, in Kentucky to help her. Cora is in charge of the schools up in the mountains. Of course, in the beginning there is a huge culture shock for Lucy but as she learns more about the people, will her heart melt? Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Suzanne Woods Fisher has done an amazing job in bringing the mountain people from 1911 to life. I so enjoy a good history lesson! Fact mixed with fiction makes an excellent teacher along with a wonderful man Wyatt. His wisdom along with Cora's was incredible! Through Lucy this story brought back many memories of when I first moved to Kentucky from Ohio. It definitely was a culture shock! I had a little trouble understanding the language but once I caught on it was OK. Church was a perfect example. Suzanne Woods Fisher has done an amazing job in bringing the mountain people from 1911 to life. I so enjoy a good history lesson! Fact mixed with fiction makes an excellent teacher along with a wonderful man Wyatt. His wisdom along with Cora's was incredible! Through Lucy this story brought back many memories of when I first moved to Kentucky from Ohio. It definitely was a culture shock! I had a little trouble understanding the language but once I caught on it was OK. Church was a perfect example. It sounded to me like tourch. I'm like ohhhhhh you mean church? Yes the girl said. I felt so embarrassed! This story breaks my heart. I can't imagine not being able to do all of those things! Reading especially! I'd be lost without my books. Cora seemed like genuinely caring woman. I loved in getting to know her as a person. Many lessons can be learned from this book. I only lived maybe 45 minutes from Rowan County. Kentucky is full of history! But, I sure didn't know about the Moonlight Schools! This was a fabulous book. I loved going back home again. I do miss Kentucky more than I thought I would! It's been my home for 32 years. I definitely recommend this one! I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 5 stars for this touching read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Libby May

    The Characters Lucy is an introverted girl who grew up in luxury. After being thrown into the rough and tumble life of a Rowan County, she begins to blossom, and that blossoming is beautiful. I always have a hard time relating to introverted characters. Usually I can appreciate extroverts, and I can appreciate ambiverts, but introverts are beyond my understanding. Lucy was beautifully done though, and even as being myself, I appreciated her development and character arc. Wyatt was one of my favori The Characters Lucy is an introverted girl who grew up in luxury. After being thrown into the rough and tumble life of a Rowan County, she begins to blossom, and that blossoming is beautiful. I always have a hard time relating to introverted characters. Usually I can appreciate extroverts, and I can appreciate ambiverts, but introverts are beyond my understanding. Lucy was beautifully done though, and even as being myself, I appreciated her development and character arc. Wyatt was one of my favorite characters. (Why can’t authors find other names for their characters? Every other male love interest is named Wyatt.) Besides the name, he broke the chains of every other cliche male. His passion for the Lord was inspiring, and his love for the people of the hollers was admirable. His calm temperament, patience, and faith created such depth to his character that even when he was not on screen you couldn’t help remembering him. Cora was a sight to see. XD She was entertaining and invested in everything she did. She reminded me of who I want to be when I grow up. Let’s through ourselves into accomplishing the impossible, and let’s get it done, against all odds. Like starting the moonlight school for illiterate adults! Finley James and Angie. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this part of the plot was so much fun to watch and I’m just gonna leave this here so you have to read the book yourself. Andrew was not the best, but I love how the author wove him simply as a man doing business in the end. Yes, it was unfair, but for some reason, I didn’t come away hating the guy for what he’d done. It was a beautiful wrap-up of that plotline. The Plot The plot was very determined. It was a relaxed story, and I felt like we spilled all over the place, but then kept coming back to the main point. Just like real life. Every thread was given adequate attention and closed up very cleanly. The ending was the most perfect thing that you can imagine out of a story that's based on reality. It gives so much freedom to take the facts of the actual event, but it gives closure and happiness to the fictional characters as well. I know that the summary/blurb claims that Lucy finds love and that the book is all about the moonlight schools, but I’m gonna mention that almost everything that’s mentioned in the blurb is in the last 1/4 of the book. So enjoy the story because it’s super well done! Even if the blurb isn’t really fair to it all. The Content The Moonlight School was very good content-wise. There were a couple of kisses, but by no means were they sensual. There was no violence and no bad language (heck was used a couple of times). In Summary I really enjoyed this historical fiction. It was based in a very interesting time in America’s history. The writing style was beautiful, and it’s the perfect book to cuddle up with a mug of tea and a good candle. Four stars! The Moonlight School is clean for ALL AGES but may be more enjoyable for girls over 13. Thank you to the publisher and the author for my gifted copy! A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own. And that’s all for today! I have a very special announcement coming out Monday about Playgrounds and Black Markers, so if I don’t see you until then, toodles my friends!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Connie Saunders

    “ Happy are those whose purpose has found them.” Lucy Wilson agrees to go to Morehead, Kentucky to help her cousin Cora with clerical duties but she believes that in six months she will return to her privileged life in Lexington. Little does she know that she'll soon be riding horseback into the hills and hollows of Rowan County, witnessing living conditions she never dreamed possible, and teaching children how to read. She wasn't meant to be a teacher! Singing teacher Brother Wyatt offers her fr “ Happy are those whose purpose has found them.” Lucy Wilson agrees to go to Morehead, Kentucky to help her cousin Cora with clerical duties but she believes that in six months she will return to her privileged life in Lexington. Little does she know that she'll soon be riding horseback into the hills and hollows of Rowan County, witnessing living conditions she never dreamed possible, and teaching children how to read. She wasn't meant to be a teacher! Singing teacher Brother Wyatt offers her friendship and encourgement, but more importantly, a chance to grow spiritually. Is it possible that their relationship may deepen into something more, as they work with Cora to provide night schools for the many illiterate adults of Rowan County, Kentucky? I KNEW I had to read this book when I first heard it mentioned last fall. I live about twenty-five miles from Morehead so I've long known about Cora Wilson Stewart and the Moonlight Schools but, after reading this story, I truly understand this tremendous legacy. It's apparent that a lot of time and effort went into researching Stewart's life and Susanne Woods Fisher has seamlessly integrated fictional characters and historical facts into a heartwarming story that you won't soon forget! These realistic characters are so endearing and I found myself often referring to the end notes to see who was a real person! The difficulties encountered and the long ago disappearance of Lucy's baby sister add intrigue to Fisher's well-written plot but the real strength of The Moonlight School is in the depiction of emotions experienced by both teachers and students. We all know the joy young children feel when learning to read but try to understand the tremendous sense of accomplishment felt by adult men and women who had been illiterate all of their lives! This is historical fiction at its finest and an excellent reminder of the value of literacy. I highly recommend The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I voluntarily accepted a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was in no way obligated to write a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

  17. 5 out of 5

    MJSH

    "We're all human beings and have thoughts and dreams like everybody else. You'll find that we're all alike in the end." I really enjoy Suzanne Woods Fisher's historical fiction and this newest release takes us to 1911 eastern Kentucky where one-third of the county is illiterate or semi-illiterate. Learning about the life in the Appalachian Mountains during this time period was fascinating - the poverty, tenacity, loyalty, and sincerity of the people created a unique and special subculture in thos "We're all human beings and have thoughts and dreams like everybody else. You'll find that we're all alike in the end." I really enjoy Suzanne Woods Fisher's historical fiction and this newest release takes us to 1911 eastern Kentucky where one-third of the county is illiterate or semi-illiterate. Learning about the life in the Appalachian Mountains during this time period was fascinating - the poverty, tenacity, loyalty, and sincerity of the people created a unique and special subculture in those mountains that I am not familiar with. I loved the music and the rock solid faith of the people in Rowan County, especially Brother Wyatt's. Based on the true story of Cora Wilson Stewart who fought to bring literacy to young and old alike, this book will appeal to historical fiction fans and to anyone passionate about literacy. Though the book is based on a true historical figure, the main characters in the book - Lucy and Wyatt - are fictional. Lucy is Cora's city born and bred cousin who is timid and without a purpose. When she comes out to the rural county, Lucy must overcome her prejudice against the poor and uneducated and must also decide what is important and how she should stand up for it. She's thrust into many uncomfortable and distressing situations where she learns to let go of her fears and past insecurities, and to rise up to find her calling, passion, and dream. Wyatt, though he doesn't actually have a voice in the story, is a steady, loyal, wise man of faith and music who makes for a lovely hero. The teenagers Fin and Angie are hysterical and bring plenty of teenage angst and drama, which adds levity to the plot. The illiteracy rate and the poverty rampant in that area are heart-breaking but the people's desire to work to rise above is extremely encouraging and full of hope. I received the book via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Sluiter

    Get the book. Seriously, get this book. Author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes a story, based on true events, that kept me enthralled from the first page. I found the characters well developed and in fact, so true to life that I know they were talking to me. Which of course they do in a good book. I fell in love with several of them and was amazed at their strength. The descriptions of the hills, the homes there, the mountains, was all very well done. If I had one disappointment it’s that the Moonlig Get the book. Seriously, get this book. Author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes a story, based on true events, that kept me enthralled from the first page. I found the characters well developed and in fact, so true to life that I know they were talking to me. Which of course they do in a good book. I fell in love with several of them and was amazed at their strength. The descriptions of the hills, the homes there, the mountains, was all very well done. If I had one disappointment it’s that the Moonlight Schools don’t come into play until quite late in the book. I would have liked to hear more about them and what went on in the classrooms. All in all, this was a really good book and if you enjoy historical fiction full of twists, turns, and heart changes, then I highly recommend this one. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    lady ansel

    Alert Everyone! You have to read this amazing story written by Suzanne Woods Fisher called The Moonlight School. The author’s seamless prose flowed effortlessly between fact and fiction engaging me in a delightful heartfelt story of kindred, empathy, kindness, and faith which kept me turning the pages. This historical fiction book is based on Cora Wilson Stewart, the actual first superintendent of schools, who founded the Moonlight School to help eliminate adult illiteracy deep in Appalachia, Row Alert Everyone! You have to read this amazing story written by Suzanne Woods Fisher called The Moonlight School. The author’s seamless prose flowed effortlessly between fact and fiction engaging me in a delightful heartfelt story of kindred, empathy, kindness, and faith which kept me turning the pages. This historical fiction book is based on Cora Wilson Stewart, the actual first superintendent of schools, who founded the Moonlight School to help eliminate adult illiteracy deep in Appalachia, Rowan County, Kentucky. It was Cora’s tenacity and sheer determination, along with dedicated teachers, who taught without pay, and adults hungry to learn that made the dream a success in nearly eliminating adult illiteracy in the county. All of the heart gripping characters young and old will captivate you as you witness their awe-inspiring journeys learning to read and write. Did I have favorites? Yes, right from the beginning I fell in love with young Finley James, smart as a whip, who fought schooling with every fiber of his being, and Mollie McGlothin, an elderly woman, who spellbound my heart throughout the story. The Moonlight School is an inspiring story for young and old alike. Highly recommend, I promise you won’t be disappointed. I received a complimentary copy of this book courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews and NetGalley.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ebos Aifuobhokhan

    “‘ Hope can be found even in the darkest of forests,'" I've read books but I've never read anyone quite like this in the sense that it put my mind and heart to think and reason. It opened my mind and reminded me to see people in a different light and see living as a means of adding value to the lives of people. I divided the characters into different categories but the two most prominent ones were those who were in the position to make a difference in the lives of others and jumped at it no matt “‘ Hope can be found even in the darkest of forests,'" I've read books but I've never read anyone quite like this in the sense that it put my mind and heart to think and reason. It opened my mind and reminded me to see people in a different light and see living as a means of adding value to the lives of people. I divided the characters into different categories but the two most prominent ones were those who were in the position to make a difference in the lives of others and jumped at it no matter the cost and those who used their position to exploit others. Lucy was one character to love. Her metamorphosis was astronomical. Aunty Cora was a force to reckon with. I loved her bigger than life personality. I congratulate the author for being able to write the story from the different character's point of view without loosing the readers on the way. The lessons of faith, love, and family in this book was profound and wonderful. Unforgettable book. I received a copy of this book from Revell and this is my honest opinion.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    I’m choked up and cheering inside as I read the last pages of this novel. It reminds me of how I felt when I finished watching an old movie Rudy. I am blown away by this author and her ability to write well in so many genres (Amish, Contemporary, Historical). She is a master storyteller. I loved learning about Cora Wilson Stewart as she plans to set up a system that would allow the people in her hometown, in Rowan County, Kentucky to learn how to read. I adored Lucy (Cora’s cousin) and how the au I’m choked up and cheering inside as I read the last pages of this novel. It reminds me of how I felt when I finished watching an old movie Rudy. I am blown away by this author and her ability to write well in so many genres (Amish, Contemporary, Historical). She is a master storyteller. I loved learning about Cora Wilson Stewart as she plans to set up a system that would allow the people in her hometown, in Rowan County, Kentucky to learn how to read. I adored Lucy (Cora’s cousin) and how the author has us get to know Cora’s people and experience the passion for this project through her eyes. Lucy and her father agreed she'd go help her cousin Cora out for a few weeks. She had no idea what she signed herself up for. This situation has many unexpected obstacles to overcome. First thing she must learn how to ride a horse and then visit people in their homes. Lucy had never been this close to a horse and to the people she was an outsider in more ways than one. I loved how the author allowed readers to meet the towns people and learn why most of them were illiterate. It was insightful to experience their trials and triumphs firsthand with Lucy. I liked the thoughtful and caring way Cora went about implementing her plan. Being mindful to treat them with respect and show them the ways in which their lives would change for the better if only they would accept the help in learning how to read and write. This has a huge impact on Lucy. I was hooked at the start of this story and how the main characters blooms and grow throughout as they catch the vision and passion of Cora Stewart project. Lucy grasps the realization she is taken her education for granted, and she is about to embark on a historical event, changing this community forever. This author masterfully blends fact and fiction with relatable characters I could stand up and cheer for. In author explains all this in a note to readers. Cora Stewart (superintendent) knew that learning to read was a game changer. This is a brilliant, inspiring, thought- provoking novel that champions education for all. The author includes nine questions to help to create a lively discussion time for your book club. This is a wonderful historical adventure I will not soon forget. It’s a must-read. Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nyla

    The Moonlight School by award winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christian historical novel set in Kentucky. Beginning in Louisville and Lexington the story travels to Morehead and Rowan County. This early 1900 tale is based on the life of Cora Wilson Stewart, the first woman elected school superintendent in Rowan County. This is also about Lucy Wilson. She travels from Lexington, Kentucky to Morehead to be Cora’s assistant and stenographer. Her experiences are delightful as city girl meets The Moonlight School by award winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christian historical novel set in Kentucky. Beginning in Louisville and Lexington the story travels to Morehead and Rowan County. This early 1900 tale is based on the life of Cora Wilson Stewart, the first woman elected school superintendent in Rowan County. This is also about Lucy Wilson. She travels from Lexington, Kentucky to Morehead to be Cora’s assistant and stenographer. Her experiences are delightful as city girl meets the hill people. It is heartwarming to watch Lucy’s transformation. We also meet Brother Wyatt, a quiet man that holds church outdoors and teaches singing classes. It is impossible to read this extraordinary novel and not fall in love with the characters and their stories. I was immediately captivated by the story and characters. This book is definitely my favorite one written by author Fisher so far. It is steeped with folklore, mountain traditions, and rich lessons of faith. It is obvious the author has done her research with the colloquialisms, mountain dialect, and characters, some of whom are real. Author Fisher is a talented storyteller. She took me back in time and away to the hollers of Rowan County, Kentucky. I could almost smell the aroma of the Kentucky country and hear the sounds of the farms and nature. Her characters jumped off of the pages and into my heart. They were well described and believable. I learned so much from this book. It was encouraging and inspiring. There is so much to love tucked into its pages. I read turning page after page, riveted to the story. There were twists and turns, life lessons, spiritual messages, mystery, romance, and much more. At the end of the book is a plethora of information that you won’t want to miss. There is a section entitled “So What Happened Next” that tell more details about Miss Cora and the Moonlight School. Following that is “Fact or Fiction” which explains some of the things and people. The next page has a list of “Recommended Reading on Cora’s Life” for those wanting to continue learning about this wonderful lady. Closing up the book are “Discussion Questions” to help individuals or groups. I highly recommend this exemplary book. It is fabulous. It would make a wonderful book for any historical reader. School teachers will love this. Book clubs will have so much fun in their discussions. This is a book for everyone. I give it a 6 out of 5 stars. (I wish I could, so 5 will have to suffice.) A copy was provided by the publisher but these are my honest words.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tressa (Wishful Endings)

    THE MOONLIGHT SCHOOL is a story of illiteracy, one woman's desire to make her county literate and educate those in the mountains and those who she pulls into her quest. It's a story of a young woman who is still trying to figure out who she will be and the people she falls in love with. It's full of faith, friendship, family, hardship and love. Highly recommended to Christian historical fiction readers! This is not one of those stories where it's a roller-coaster, high-octane ride from beginning THE MOONLIGHT SCHOOL is a story of illiteracy, one woman's desire to make her county literate and educate those in the mountains and those who she pulls into her quest. It's a story of a young woman who is still trying to figure out who she will be and the people she falls in love with. It's full of faith, friendship, family, hardship and love. Highly recommended to Christian historical fiction readers! This is not one of those stories where it's a roller-coaster, high-octane ride from beginning to end. This is a story that softly pulls you in and continues to do so as you get to know the mountains and its people right along with the heroine. You slowly fall in love with them just as she does. You also slowly fall in love with her as she faces past disappointments, and as she tries to navigate her new world as well as her faith and her heart. You also fall in love with the other characters who have points-of-view, Angie and Fin. All three of them have stories to tell and futures to decide. Then you won't be able to not fall in love with Cora and Wyatt too. One is fierce and bright and the other steady and strong. I loved these characters! Lucy was a young woman who was very lost and she found herself during this story. Her cousin Cora definitely helped by pushing and prodding her along. Wyatt was this steady presence with a good listening ear, although he gave her a lot to think about as well. Then there were the mountains and the people who lived there who had Lucy questioning her life and the world, as well as allowing her faith to grow. The story itself was steady, interesting and very inspiring. The religious element was woven throughout the story and was a strong aspect of it, but I never felt it was forced or unrealistic. Romance was present, but it played a very minor role. The thing I found most moving was this story of those who couldn't read nor write and the movement to fix that so that they could live fuller lives. I also really enjoyed the afterward about this real historical movement. What an amazing woman Cora was and the huge impact she had on the world and to people specifically. In the end, was it what I wished for? This is a story with delightful characters, and full of heart and inspiration. It's a story that is definitely worth the read, based on true facts of a movement to teach those in the Appalachian mountains to read. A movement that spread to neighboring counties, states and the nation. Again, highly recommended! Content: Clean Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher from NetGalley through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    sincerely

    The Moonlight School is a new historical fiction novel written by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Thank you @netgalley and @revell for the complimentary eARC. This story follows the true events of the "Moonlight Schools," which was an amazing effort to teach the illiterate and semi-literate adults of the hills of Kentucky to read. Set in 1911, Fisher created a fictional character named Lucy Wilson to compliment the real life "Moonlight-School Lady" Cora Wilson Stewart. Cora was the first female superinten The Moonlight School is a new historical fiction novel written by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Thank you @netgalley and @revell for the complimentary eARC. This story follows the true events of the "Moonlight Schools," which was an amazing effort to teach the illiterate and semi-literate adults of the hills of Kentucky to read. Set in 1911, Fisher created a fictional character named Lucy Wilson to compliment the real life "Moonlight-School Lady" Cora Wilson Stewart. Cora was the first female superintendent of education and an obvious force to be reckoned with. The Moonlight School not only focuses on the subject of literacy, which is obviously near and dear to any reader's heart, but exposes the disadvantage the mountain people were under as their land was scalded by lumber companies. There is also a sweet romance tucked into the story, as well as some great humor from characters Angie and Fin. I found myself talking my husband's ear off about this book. Reading over 100 a books a year makes it about impossible to tell him about every one, so it has become a bit of a gauge for me to see which ones seem interesting enough to chat about and this one made the cut. The story was told in a way that was not only interesting, but also was palatable for a sensitive reader. I know that there were probably lots of details and subplots that could have been added to make this more shocking, but I appreciated that I was able to read without fear of nightmares 😂🙈 And not only that, but this is Christian fiction and it was enjoyable to read such a fascinating story that glorified God, too! All around, a great job!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher is based on the true life of Cora Wilson Stewart in the Appalachians of Kentucky during 1911 by bringing literacy to the illiterate mountain folks. Cora along with the fictional characters gave way to seeing the need for literacy, the superstitions and way the mountain folks lived compared to those in the city. Lucy Wilson is sent by her father to assist her cousin Cora. She grew up with plenty but carried a heavy load for many years with the loss of The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher is based on the true life of Cora Wilson Stewart in the Appalachians of Kentucky during 1911 by bringing literacy to the illiterate mountain folks. Cora along with the fictional characters gave way to seeing the need for literacy, the superstitions and way the mountain folks lived compared to those in the city. Lucy Wilson is sent by her father to assist her cousin Cora. She grew up with plenty but carried a heavy load for many years with the loss of her young sister Charlotte. Brother Wyatt was a favorite character with his perception of Almighty God being, “All Mighty means just that. Mighty over all.” His love for the people and God was beautifully woven into the story without being preaching. The secondary characters added so much to this historical tale. Lucy’s journey and experience with her cousin Cora is beautifully portrayed with her discovering purpose for her life. The creativity Fisher wove into this historical fiction tale gave way to one fabulous story that I couldn’t stop reading. I appreciate the notes and facts at the end of the book showing all that Cora Wilson Stewart accomplished during her lifetime and implementing Moonlight Schools for the illiterate to bring adult literacy into being first in the hills of Kentucky. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and Revell publishers without any obligation to post a positive review. I have shared my own opinion.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pegg

    I love stories with real history and real historical characters woven seamlessly throughout the story. This is one of those! I had to stop myself from turning to the back to see if this or that was fact or fiction. I prefer to wait until the end most of the time, but the author did such a good job of combining this story that I was tempted - more than once - to peek. Wrapped around Lucy's journey to adult independence is the history of one woman's crusade against illiteracy in the deep hollows o I love stories with real history and real historical characters woven seamlessly throughout the story. This is one of those! I had to stop myself from turning to the back to see if this or that was fact or fiction. I prefer to wait until the end most of the time, but the author did such a good job of combining this story that I was tempted - more than once - to peek. Wrapped around Lucy's journey to adult independence is the history of one woman's crusade against illiteracy in the deep hollows of Kentucky's backcountry. But my favorite character was brother Wyatt. You'll have to read it to see why. :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    I so enjoy a book based on historical events, and I was unaware of this moment in history until recently. The premise behind this standalone novel was based on starting schools for illiterate adults that were held after the busyness of each day was complete. Cora Wilson Stewart was on a mission to teach all the adults in Rowan County to read – if she could convince the teachers in her district to do it for free. Set alongside the history of The Moonlight School was Lucy’s story. While this sectio I so enjoy a book based on historical events, and I was unaware of this moment in history until recently. The premise behind this standalone novel was based on starting schools for illiterate adults that were held after the busyness of each day was complete. Cora Wilson Stewart was on a mission to teach all the adults in Rowan County to read – if she could convince the teachers in her district to do it for free. Set alongside the history of The Moonlight School was Lucy’s story. While this section was fictionalized, I imagine Cora needed to recruit more than one individual to bring her illiteracy plan to fruition. Lucy joined her in Rowan County initially to work as a stenographer, and she assumed that she would be helping Cora in her office. Cora’s plans were to send Lucy into the hills and hollers to transcribe letters for the illiterate adults. Lucy was in for more than one surprise as she saw firsthand how poor these people were, yet rich in community. What I appreciated most about this story is that I have been so fortunate all my life to know how to read and to have a genuine love of books. So many do not have the same opportunity for a host of reasons. Even in my own city, there are so many students who go from one grade to the next without having the reading comprehension they need to succeed as they get older. It is a sad, overlooked issue. I applaud this author for pulling the curtain back on illiteracy in The Moonlight School in a tasteful and helpful way.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie

    This was well done! The story of Cora Wilson Stewart who saw the value of education was the superintendent of Rowan County Schools. She was the first elected female superintendent in Eastern Kentucky. Her mission to educate the poor in the mountains that have been taken advantage of by lumber companies. With small schools scattered in the mountains, she is determined that the next generation will do better by education. With the help of her niece and several other unforgettable characters, she t This was well done! The story of Cora Wilson Stewart who saw the value of education was the superintendent of Rowan County Schools. She was the first elected female superintendent in Eastern Kentucky. Her mission to educate the poor in the mountains that have been taken advantage of by lumber companies. With small schools scattered in the mountains, she is determined that the next generation will do better by education. With the help of her niece and several other unforgettable characters, she takes a leap of faith that the adults can learn to read as well. With the truth from history of Cora Wilson Stewart and add a fictitious niece Lucy and assortment of colorful characters of the people they are serving, the past with the passion comes alive in this noble undertaking. Can and will the adults want to learn to read. Will they see the value of an education for themselves and their children. Lucy is on mission, a calling, a new start with her Aunt Cora. With the disappearance of her younger sister and her father's heartbreak, she has put a load on her own heart. She has cease to live. Now that her father is remarrying, she is looking to find a new start with her Aunt Cora. Upon Lucy's arrival, Cora test her niece's resolve and confidence. She gives her the opportunity to serve others less fortunate than her while opening her eyes to what the possibilities are with education. Lucy starts writing and reading for the mountain people and she comes to find the foundation of their faith. The characters are teachable, likeable and relatable. The faith lessons of not giving up is what true wealth really is. Lucy learns about how God answers prayers with the loss of her sister and what there is to gain in being faithful to putting others first. Many emotions with Lucy and Cora's story. It is funny, heartbreaking and redemptive. Everything I like and then some! A special thank you to Revell and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby Crea

    A compelling historical fiction story of one woman who advocated for literacy for the people who lived in the mountains of Kentucky, and a host of absolutely delightful characters who help her including Lucy, Finley James, Angie, Wyatt and others. I enjoyed seeing a slice of what life was like at that time through the talented pen of Suzanne Woods Fisher. I loved it! A beautiful tribute to the legacy of Cora Wilson Stewart who fought for literacy in Kentucky and her Moonlight Schools which began A compelling historical fiction story of one woman who advocated for literacy for the people who lived in the mountains of Kentucky, and a host of absolutely delightful characters who help her including Lucy, Finley James, Angie, Wyatt and others. I enjoyed seeing a slice of what life was like at that time through the talented pen of Suzanne Woods Fisher. I loved it! A beautiful tribute to the legacy of Cora Wilson Stewart who fought for literacy in Kentucky and her Moonlight Schools which began September 5, 1911. I highly recommend The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hallie Szott

    Suzanne Woods Fisher brings to life the true-to-life experience of Cora Wilson Stewart in her latest novel, The Moonlight School. In need of a change, Lucy Wilson heads to Kentucky to work with her cousin, superintendent of education. The experience is definitely more than she anticipated, as Cora decides to open schools for adults, tackling the problem of illiteracy on moonlit nights—but it is one that has the capacity to grow her, shape her, help her in ways she needs. This novel combines exquis Suzanne Woods Fisher brings to life the true-to-life experience of Cora Wilson Stewart in her latest novel, The Moonlight School. In need of a change, Lucy Wilson heads to Kentucky to work with her cousin, superintendent of education. The experience is definitely more than she anticipated, as Cora decides to open schools for adults, tackling the problem of illiteracy on moonlit nights—but it is one that has the capacity to grow her, shape her, help her in ways she needs. This novel combines exquisite beauty and heartbreaking reality, as the plight of rural Kentucky is explored. I enjoyed learning about Cora Wilson Stewart and her accomplishments in education, and I’m thinking that other readers that like inspirational historical stories will enjoy this book, too. This review is also posted on Hallie Reads. I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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