Book Review: Under the Bayou Moon

Reading Under the Bayou Moon was something of a revelation for me. Having grown up visiting relatives close to the Louisiana border, I often heard my family talk about Cajuns. I’m sorry to say most of what was said was unflattering, unkind, and not anything I would repeat here.

Such things were so often said, I didn’t think twice about it until I became older, and wondered why they had so much hate for a people who lived the same as they did? It’s amazing to me that generations later, people still pass on ingrained prejudices simply because that’s what their parents and grandparents said.

Today, we seek to find a truer narrative, so we can hopefully avoid the mistakes of our past. But we don’t always find so clear an explanation for the root of such hatred. 

Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I dove into Valerie Fraser Luesse’s Under the Bayou Moon. I had already enjoyed her previous work, The Key to Everything, but I was unprepared for how much her following novel would draw me in. Or how it would explain the root to the same prejudices I was raised around as a child coming to the deep eastern forests between Louisiana and Texas.

UNDER THE BAYOU MOON

by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Cover Hi Res Under the Bayou Moon

Categories: Fiction / Christian / Historical 

Publisher: Revell  
Date of Publication: August 3, 2021 

Number of Pages: 352 

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Synopsis

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.


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Review

5 of 5 Stars

Valerie Fraser Luesse paints a stunning portrait of Louisiana in the late 40s in Under the Bayou Moon, where the beauty of an ancient land and enriched culture is threatened by prejudice and greed.

The story is a familiar one, especially to anyone with roots in this part of the South. The old way of life and a fading culture is threatened when oil-hungry tycoons seek to displace and steal resources beneath the soil. In real life, the good guys rarely seem to win, and the innocent suffer. But that isn’t always true. Sometimes, people take a stand. People like Raphe, a man born and raised on the bayou, have taken in his orphaned nephew and knows no other way to live. And like Ellie, an educated woman running from her past in hopes of a meaningful future. And the Cajun people of the bayou, who have been stripped of their first language, forced to speak and conform to English, may find another chance despite the odds.

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There were so many beautiful moments in Under the Bayou Moon, moments of stillness when the characters would stop to notice what others overlook. I’ve often sought beauty in the little things in similar ways, so I really connected with Ellie and Raphe’s love for nature, but also people. From Ellie’s ability to look for the story behind the tired woman in New Orleans, to Raphe’s breathlessness over his love of the bayou, each little moment felt timeless and special. Like we as the reader were allowed to peek through the keyhole into something we might not have otherwise seen or cared to notice. It’s this kind of pacing that I think I appreciate with each year in a fast-paced modern world.

Valerie Fraser Luesse doesn’t pull her punches with Under the Bayou Moon as she uses her gift of building characters with the landscape in harmonies we may overlook. And she places a glass over the near-distant past when the problems of a small rural Louisiana community are just as relevant today. Luesse doesn’t just tell stories, she makes you feel along with her characters, and best of all she makes you think. If you’re anything like me, you won’t want to put this down until the beautifully bittersweet end.

**I was provided with a copy of Under the Bayou Moon by the publisher and this is my voluntary and honest review.**


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MEET VALERIE FRASER LUESSE

Author Photo Luesse

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.

 

 ║ Website ║ Facebook ║  Amazon  ║ BookBubBlog  ║


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A copy of Under the Bayou Moon, $10 Starbucks gift card,
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VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY. Or, visit the blogs directly: 

8/3/21

Notable Quotable

All the Ups and Downs

8/3/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

8/4/21

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The Book’s Delight

8/4/21

BONUS Promo

Hall Ways Blog

8/5/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

8/6/21

Review

Tangled in Text

8/7/21

Excerpt

Stories Under Starlight

8/8/21

Excerpt

Forgotten Winds

8/9/21

Review

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

8/10/21

Top Five

Chapter Break Book Blog

8/11/21

Review

Jennie Reads

8/12/21

Review

The Plain-Spoken Pen

8/12/21

BONUS Review

Jennifer Silverwood


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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Under the Bayou Moon

Add yours

    1. Valerie, thank you so much for the opportunity, and for visiting! I truly loved reading Bayou Moon. It felt like opening up a window into the past and I hope I was able to convince others to grab a copy. Today more than ever we need the kind of magic you gift with your words 🙂

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