I tend to read fiction for enjoyment so I am often surprised when I read reviews of books I enjoyed that pick them apart bit by bit. What fun is that? I believe most readers are like me and not scholars who need to analyze every page. So yes! I thoroughly enjoyed Under the Bayou Moon without finding any of the glaring deficiencies that seemed to annoy several other reviewers.

I loved the mysterious aura of the bayous and the myth of the white alligator. The characters who populated the tale were incredible people who came to life on its pages. I could almost taste Raphe’s gumbo and other food descriptions made my mouth water. I also enjoyed the friendship of Haywood with both Raphe and Ellie.

The lyrical narrative drew me right into the small Louisiana town of Bernadette and made me want to befriend each and every one and sit in on Ellie’s weekly meetings with the older ladies. The story is filled with love, discovery, friendship, community, and faith but hidden undercurrents of greed and prejudice threatened to destroy the good people of Bernadette. I found it difficult to put the book down before I finished it. I would definitely recommend 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.


When Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country in 1949, she knows her life will change–but she could never imagine just how dramatically.

Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their unique culture, most of the residents come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher, and she’s soon teaching just about everyone, despite opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives. Yet it’s the lessons Ellie herself will learn–from new friends, a captivating Cajun fisherman, and even a legendary white alligator haunting the bayou–that will make all the difference.

Take a step away from the familiar and enter the shadowy waters of bayou country for a story of risk, resilience, and romance.

Read an excerpt HERE.


Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac, Almost Home, and The Key to Everything, as well as an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse received the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society for her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana. A graduate of Auburn University and Baylor University, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave.