Today’s book review features
Under the Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse.
Restless with the familiarity of her Alabama home, Ellie Fields accepts a teaching job in a tiny Louisiana town deep in bayou country. Though rightfully suspicious of outsiders, who have threatened both their language and their culture, most of the people in tiny Bernadette, Louisiana, come to appreciate the young and idealistic schoolteacher as a boon to the town. She’s soon teaching just about everyone–and coming up against opposition from both the school board and a politician with ulterior motives.
Acclimating to a whole new world, Ellie meets a lonely but intriguing Cajun fisherman named Raphe who introduces her to the legendary white alligator that haunts these waters. Raphe and Ellie have barely found their way to each other when a huge bounty is offered for the elusive gator, bringing about a shocking turn of events that will test their love and their will to right a terrible wrong.
A master of the Southern novel, Valerie Fraser Luesse invites you to enter the sultry swamps of Louisiana in a story that illuminates the struggle for the heart and soul of the bayou.
Valerie Fraser Luesse writes authentic Southern stories with heart and soul, set in singular places she has explored as a writer for Southern Living magazine, with compelling characters inspired by the people of the South. Her first venture into fiction, Missing Isaac, won the 2018 Christy Award for best new novel and was followed by Almost Home (2019) and The Key to Everything (2020). The Alabama native and her husband live in Birmingham.
From Author Website
What makes you chose a book to read? With Under the Bayou Moon, I chose it because of the cover, the historical setting, and the overall vibe I got from the story. That vibe turned out to be exactly right.
This is a southern story with an emphasis on community. Food, friendship, and facing hardships together. The romance of a summer night along the river. The presence of an albino alligator that seems more of a superstition than a reality. It all wove together like a story told on a neighbor’s front porch.
I loved the characters of this story, but especially the two men who made up the friendship trio (not a love triangle, which was made clear from the get go, which I greatly appreciated). One was quiet and stalwart, the other as dramatic as New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Ellie was more difficult to grasp because she had pieces of both of the men’s personality in hers, as Heywood points outs, but no one doubts how much she loves the children she teaches and the town she makes her home.
If you’re looking for a slow-paced, home-cooking kind of story, then definitely grab a copy of Under the Bayou Moon.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.
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