As an avid reader I cannot begin to imagine going through life unable to read. It was a foreign concept to Lucy Wilson also until she traveled to Rowan County, Kentucky to work for her father’s cousin Cora Wilson Stewart, the first woman superintendent of education in that area. As a city girl who had been provided with everything she needed, Lucy’s first encounter with the impoverished mountain people was a rude awakening. Everything and everyone she encountered was alien to her previous experience.

With the eager help of Finn, the more reluctant help of Angie, and the quiet wisdom of Brother Wyatt, Lucy gradually became adjusted to the area and even grew comfortable with the horse she rode to visit the scattered inhabitants of the mountain. She grew to love many of the mountain people and felt increasingly burdened to help them.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the customs of the mountain people and particularly found interesting the mention of using shaped notes to teach music to those who could not read. One of my own ancestors, Mennonite Bishop Joseph Funk was instrumental in the use of shaped notes and wrote an extensive book about their use that is still in use today. How I wish I could have been in Lucy’s shoes the first time she experienced a singing.

The Moonlight School is a beautiful story with vivid descriptions of the land and people of early 1900 hill country of Kentucky. While based on the true story of Cora Wilson Stewart, this book is a fictional account that features Lucy and Wyatt. A bit of mystery and a sweet romance round the story out to make a thoroughly satisfying read. There is much more to discover than I have described so I would recommend picking up a copy for yourself as soon as possible. I don’t think you will regret it.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


Haunted by personal tragedy, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to assist her cousin, Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of schools. A fish out of water, Lucy is appalled by the primitive conditions and intellectual poverty she encounters.

Born in those very hills, Cora knows the twin plagues of illiteracy and poverty. So does Brother Wyatt, a singing school master 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, along with something else she hadn’t expected: love.

Inspired by true events, this novel from bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings to life the story that shocked the nation into taking adult literacy seriously.


Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 30 books, including The Moonlight School and the Three Sisters Island, Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.