Under the Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse is a captivating journey to 1940s rural Louisiana. I was drawn in from the beginning and felt as though I had been transported in time and place.
From the back cover: 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.
I enjoyed how the author illustrated what life was like in the bayou while also incorporating history – things that most people probably don’t know unless you grew up in Louisiana. Without spoiling anything, I will just say that I came away with a greater appreciation for Cajun people, for sure. I also loved the main characters for such different reasons – she made them so realistic and flawed while also endearing us to them. I felt as though I was part of their fight and even dreamt about it that night. Most of all, I loved the character of Ellie – her determination was empowering and such a great example of how we can all make a big difference in the lives of those around us.
Under the Bayou Moon has a little of everything – culture, romance, history, tragedy, and perseverance. It will take you on a mental vacation through the bayou and you just may be better for it.