Cover Image: The Moonlight School

The Moonlight School

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Member Reviews

2021; Revell

The Moonlight School is based on a true story, but is a fictionalized account of it. The main character, Lucy is fictional, while her cousin Cora Wilson Stewart was real. The novel starts out with Lucy's younger sister going missing as Lucy was absorbed in her novel (Little Women- for those book addicts like me). Years later her father's marries a young woman in her graduating class. While there is no overt drama, there is some tension with the new bride being her peer. Lucy is sent out to help her cousin Cora, who is the first female superintendent of education, in Rowan County (1911). She is sent out to the hills to help folks read and write letters. As Lucy sees the place her own successful father came from, and how the people in the hills live, she starts to build a confidence of her own. I loved the characters in this book. Fisher does such a great job in bringing them to life and also letting us see the world around them. 

I did rather the novel 3.5 stars though, so I did a two issues with the book. One, I did not care for a storyline that seemed a bit too forced. I was also torn about the outcome of what Lucy decides for this person. I was also disappointed with where the novel ended. I felt like that was when the novel started to get really interesting. I wanted to now more of what would happen with the Moonlight School. Fisher does give an afterwards on what was fact, and more on the Moonlight school, which I am grateful for. Yet, I would have rather read about it through the characters than just an afterwards. It would have been nice to have more of Cora's thoughts as well. I like the story but at times just felt like there was a bit something missing, and I wanted to hear more from other characters. I do think it is worth the read as it is an interesting tale. 

***I received a complimentary copy of this trade paperback from the publisher. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***
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This book was good.  While it is fiction, you call tell the author has based it on history.  So it's historical fiction with a bit of romance.  I really like how the author describes the people and places.  It makes me feel as if I'm there with them all.

I 'knew' illiteracy was a bigger thing back then but I truly hadn't realized how widespread it was until this book.  It was just something that I kind of realized had been an issue, but simply hadn't realized how much of an issue.  The author is a wonderful storyteller and it kept my attention throughout.  


Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy via Celebrate Lit.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.
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This was my first book by this author, It was pretty enjoyable. I would give this book a 3.5 star rating! It was a pretty Quick and easy read!
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Whether is in her beautiful Amish tales or her fantastic contemporary romances, Suzanne Woods Fisher provers herself to be quite the talented storyteller no matter the genre of stories she writes! The Moonlight School proves this once again! This story is based on the true story of Cora Wilson Stewart and her mission to bring literacy to Appalachia, Rowan County, Kentucky. While I found it to be a bit different than other books I'd read by this author in the past, it was a truly enlightening read nonetheless. I don't know much about the true events on which this was based on, but the fictional take certainly had me wanting to learn more. Walking away from this book, I think we will all find ourselves feeling very grateful for the gift of literacy that I think we likely take for granted! A world without reading!? I couldn't imagine! Overall, a good read and one that fans of historical fiction will be sure to want to check out.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for consideration. All thoughts are my own.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Revell for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

Maybe you don't know this about me but I don't enjoy movies about teachers. I avoid them like the plague for the way they oversimplify my profession. On the other hand, I LOVE books that feature teachers.

This 2021 new release is on the creation of Kentucky's moonlight schools which helped improve literacy rates across the county and eventually the state. It is also the story of Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of education whose drive to educate changed the way people thought of adult literacy. Contrary to popular beliefs of the time, it was indeed possible to read at ANY AGE.

Through the eyes of fictional characters who interact with Cora, we experience the beauty of rural Kentucky while also witnessing the primitive conditions and intellectual poverty of the early 20th century. Whether you're an adult or a teen, no doubt the characters will make you laugh and cry.

#erinrossreads2021 #readersofinstagram #teachersandbooks #goodreads #netgalley #revellpublishing

Goodreads and Instagram review published 07/04/21
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If this book had been another 100 pages longer, I would have happily kept reading!  I loved learning about the moonlight schools that were created by the real-life Cora Wilson Stewart, the superintendent of education of Rowan County, Kentucky.  This book's theme about the illiteracy of Kentucky hit a place in my heart. Like the fictional characters in the book, my great-grandmother also grew up in Kentucky and only received a 3rd grade education.  When she grew up, she instilled the importance of getting the education she lacked in her children.  Because of her insistence of the importance of learning, my grandmother, mother, aunts, sister, and I would all grow up to become teachers, so that we too could educate and inspire.  Therefore, reading about how Cora Wilson Stewart persistently and successfully created moonlight schools for adults was inspirational to me.  As I was reading this book, I used her story to empower my own students and myself to not give up on trying to learn since we've had to get used to learning and teaching remotely because of the pandemic.  

As a bonus to the historical parts of the story, I enjoyed reading about the fictional character Lucy Wilson who comes to help her aunt Cora.  Lucy quickly becomes wrapped up in Cora's mission to educate the adults and children in the community.  With the help of Brother Wyatt, a singing schoolmaster, she acquires data for Cora's plan to educate the adults in their community.  Fin and Angie, two other fictional teenagers in the story, also add a bit of drama to the story as well.  There is also an interesting plot line about Lucy's little sister being kidnapped at the beginning of the story.  All in all, this book was a very enjoyable read.  I thoroughly enjoyed the author's notes at the end of the novel.  The only thing that kept me from giving this book a 5-star rating was that there wasn't a lot of time spent in the book with the moonlight schools actually being opened.  The title of the book led me to believe that this book would be about adults learning in a moonlight school, but instead most of the story was about getting ready to open the moonlight schools.  I had hoped for a little bit more of the story to have been set with the moonlight schools being opened and operational.  Perhaps a sequel could quench this thirst for more information about the adults who learned in these moonlight schools.  I would be first in line to read that kind of a book if it became available.  Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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The best part of this book was learning about a pioneer of Adult education, Cora Wilson Stewart, and seeing how literacy can transform and empower people.
The main character of this book is not Cora, however, it is Lucy Wilson, a fictional neice of Cora's who is employed by her in her work educating people in rural Kentucky during the early 1900's. Lucy is timid, and she is haunted by the disappearance of her sister. Cora is strong willed and determined to break Lucy out of her comfort zone so that she can make her own way in life - apart from her domineering father. I did enjoy seeing Lucy interact with the people of rural Kentucky - especially the teenagers who struggle with wether or not schooling is worth it. Lucy also attracts some gentleman callers, and faces a lot of difficult decisions along the way. Still, some of her story seemed rather simplistic and the part that I enjoyed the most was seeing how the adults reacted once they were given the opportunity to attend the "moonlight schools" and learn to read and write for themselves. The idea is not met with open arms by all - but Lucy and company learn to lean on a higher power to give them strength as they work hard to make their dream a reality.
Fans of the stories mule-riding librarians will enjoy the similar themes in this story, along with some romance and some faith-filled soul searching.
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This was a very good story. Suzanne did a great job laying the foundation for this book and the characters. I was interesting to be in the different point of views we got to be in.

It’s so hard to imagine not knowing how to read and how easily we take it for granted, but it really is a gift.

Lucy is a wonderful character so watch grow through her encounters with the mountain people.

I was also curious how things would work out for many of the characters and the romance that may or may not have been brewing.

A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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There aren't snough words for how much I loved this book.  Based on the life of a real person, her passion. Is to bring literacy to the mountain folk of early 20th century Kentucky.  Being a fan of Suzanne Woods Fisher, I'd heard about this book, but frankly thought it sounded fairly boring.  I should have known Suzanne wouldnt let me down.  A page turner from beginning to end.  I couldn't put it down.  This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, and  I honestly LOVED this book!
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The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher is another example of why Fisher is one of the best. The story of Cora Wilson Stewart, who fought hard for adults to learn to read in the early nineteen hundreds, will grab you and keep hold. Stewart was the first woman superintendent in Kentucky and worked hard to prove that she could do what a man could. She cared about each of the students in her care and wanted them to learn to read. She believed that adults couldn't learn after a certain age, until an older lady from in the hills came to her and showed her how she had taught herself to read. After that, Cora knew that she and so many others were wrong. Adults could learn, or, to coin the phrase: you can teach an old dog new tricks. Thus, The Moonlight Schools were born. Fifty schools in rural Kentucky where adults of any age could learn to read and write, thus helping them more than any would realize. The book itself is told from the viewpoint of Stewart's fictional niece. We meet Lucy and grow with her as she learns to forgive and love herself, and as she learns to love the mountains and their people. A delightful story (as I knew it would be!). What are you waiting for? Time to read it!
Thanks to #NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book. All opinions are my own. #Bookstagram #all_the_pages
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This book was amazing! For some reason, I kept putting this book off in favor of other books that sounded more exciting. But I'm sorry I didn't read it sooner! It has lovable characters, interesting plot lines, a bit of mystery and a light romance. Everything needed for an unforgettable novel.

The story centers around Lucy Wilson, a young woman lost in her grief and guilt about the past. She is hired as an assistant to her cousin, Cora Wilson Stewart. Cora has just been elected as Superintendent of Education; unheard of in her time! Cora basically strong arms Lucy into helping her with her mission to educate the illiterates of the Appalachian mountains. Together, they invent the idea to educate any person, regardless of age, in the evenings after chores are finished. 

I was surprised at how much history the author was able to put into a good story. It is a work of fiction, but so much of it actually happened.
I recommend anyone who is a fan of historical fiction or Christian fiction to read this book. You won't be disappointed!
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Picking up this read because of the interesting title and the lovely cover art, I was not expecting such an engaging and interesting read. This story is based on a true story and Ms. Fisher has certainly researched Cora Wilson Stewart and the events surrounding the midnight school concept. This reader was caught after the first chapter. Ms. Cora and her niece Lucy are strong characters and the setting is set by the trip up the mountain the first time Lucy makes her way up. It makes the reader jump into the world of the appalachian area in the early twentieth century. Learning that the entire story is based on true events made this read stick with this reader long after the last page was read.
The Moonlight School will satisfy any fan of historical fiction and strong female characters. It is a quick and enjoyable read that will make you want to go back for more. This is the first time I have read anything from Ms. Fisher but I will be checking out her other offerings. At the end of the book, Ms. Fisher includes the facts about the Moonlight schools and shares what she added to her story. There is also book discussion questions also included for book club discussions.
I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley and the publisher, Revell, in exchange for an honest review.
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Steeped in the culture of eastern Kentucky, The Moonlight School is sure to please fans of historical fiction.

The characters are fun, especially Angie and Finley! Their interactions are hilarious and I found myself looking forward to their shenanigans. Brother Wyatt is lovely, Cora is a fireball, and Lucy's growth throughout the novel is substantial.

I found myself fired up and passionate about illiteracy in my region (as I am an eastern Kentucky girl), following the heart of Cora. Fisher does an excellent job of portraying the challenges AND the unique blessings of these Appalachian people and I truly appreciated it.

Overall, this book is a wonderful dedication to such a life-changing endeavor in our country.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. All expressed opinions belong to me.
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As a retired teacher, this story became dear to my heart.   By the time I finished this book, I was wishing that I could have been a teacher in one of the “Moonlight Schools”. 

This book is set in the year 1911.  It’s based on the real life story of Cora Wilson Stewart, who was the first female superintendent of education in the state of Kentucky.  Cora had a deep love and burden for the people who lived in the mountains of Kentucky.  Many of the adults had never had an opportunity to learn to read or write, and Cora was rightly convinced that they needed to be able to read well enough to write letters and communicate with loved ones; but also that no one could cheat them in any way when it came to land transactions.  She realized that the adults could not attend school during the daytime with their children.  So the “Moonlight School” concept was born—-the adults would walk in the moonlight to their local school building and learn reading, writing, math, and history.  Cora’s idea caught on like wildfire, and made a difference in the quality of life for the mountain people.

But this book has some wonderful fictional characters, too.  I enjoyed following Lucy Wilson’s journey as she came to know and love the students she taught in the mountain school.  Her struggles were both amusing and heartwarming.  She has known heartbreak in the loss of her sister. Wyatt sees Lucy’s struggles, and extends not only friendship but helps her see her need to on God to carry her through life’s struggles.  There’s several other characters in this book that became “real” to me as I got to know them on these pages, and I almost hated to finish the book and leave them behind.

If you liked Catherine Marshall’s “Christy”, you’ll also enjoy this book. 
I always love learning something new when I read historical fiction, and I’ll always remember this story about the Moonlight Schools.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.
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Okay, I am officially in Awe. This book is fantabulous! And that the backstory is true, is even better. Taking the time to make it more than possible for adults to learn to read, in a respectful way, making accommodations with both time and teaching materials to treat them as adults and not children, took a lot of courage, planning and effort.

The story in this book, well, Lucy could be any one of us, whom life circumstances left us wanting to be invisible. Having people who care, and an appropriate challenge placed before us can have amazing results, as in Lucy's case. She's an inspirational heroine, having to be pushed past her insecurities, to becoming someone she could be proud of.

Getting to 'know' the mountain people, both respecting their traditions, personality struggles and honor, and wishing more for them, was so well done. 
Finley James and Angie and Wyatt stole my heart from the beginning, and never let it go. 

I would recommend this book to anyone 14+ and say it might even make a good family read-aloud with middle schoolers.

Topics include a missing/stolen child, superstitions, 'iffy' business practices, incredible faith, perseverance, prejudices, and the power of learning to read.

I received a copy of this book from #netgalley, and chose to review it here. all thoughts are my own.
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I read this as an ARC from NetGalley and after the first 2 pages was not sure I'd finish it. It felt overly written and a little juvenile in the description. But a few chapters in and I was hooked. I loved the personalities of the mountain people, the heart of Cora as she tried helping those she loved, and seeing the creation of the Moonlight Schools. I hadn't realized this was based on real events until the end of the book. Recommend!
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This book would be such a fun Audiobook. Fisher is so talented at using dialect. I'd love to hear it all read aloud. Such an interesting piece of american history that I had no idea about. Reading this novel made me want to find my own purpose and way to change and better the world. Definitely recommend.
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I love this book! Already! And it’s only been one chapter! (Following a very dramatic prologue... )                    Suzanne Woods Fisher is a very talented writer, successfully moving between different periods – all of which are extensively researched. Each of her books is well-written, & a ‘stand-out’ : they never disappoint (despite my high expectations!) The characters are nearly all likeable, & readers quickly come to care about them. I wanted the story to go on forever, but at the same time was compelled to keep reading – which unfortunately means I finished it in just a short time. And did I mention how much I loved this book?! It may be early in the year, but I already know this is going to be one of my top reads for 2021... If it were possible to give more than 5 stars, I would do so.
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This is another good historical fiction book set in the Appalachia region. It is based on a true story about a woman’s efforts to increase adult literacy in the area by starting a Moonlight School at night for the illiterate parents of the children in school. The focus of the book revolves around her niece, however, who comes to help her out with the schools for a time period. It has interesting characters and also explores the issue of how illiterate people can be taken advantage of. I enjoyed how the main character started out so naive, but grew and became more socially conscious and took control of her life. Having been raised with privilege, she was proudful at the beginning of the story but learned from the poor folks. I think If you enjoyed The Giver of Stars or The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, I think you’ll enjoy this one.
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Suzanne Woods Fisher writes Amish fiction, Historical fiction, and Contemporary Christian fiction and I love them all!

The Moonlight School was an amazing story of how "night schools" began back in the early 1900's in Kentucky.  I loved the characters of Wyatt and Lucy and their slow journey to love; but I also enjoyed learning about the real-life Cora Wilson Stewart who worked so hard to fight for literacy a century ago with very impressive results.  Thanks to Suzanne we get a glimpse of the past and get to learn about another strong woman who did so much for our country.

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review.  It was truly a pleasure to read this book.  All opinions are my own.
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