Sometimes all you need is a lovely book with an interesting story, a few villains, and a whole bunch of romance. Given the difficult times we face, sitting down with characters with whom you want to spend time is a blessing. Under the Bayou Moon, by Valorie Fraser Luesse provided such a delightful break from reality.
It’s 1949, and America is slowly recovering from the difficult years of war and poverty. Ellie Fields, a young teacher who has spent her life in small-town Alabama, feels like it’s time to shake it up a bit. She accepts a teaching position in a small town in the bayou country of Louisiana, not far from New Orleans. Though this move seems insignificant, for Ellie, it is the first time living away from her home. The Cajun culture of the new town in which she now resides is as different from her past experience as you can get.
The townspeople look suspiciously on outsiders, and the new schoolteacher is no exception. It takes some time, but before long, she has made some new friends. She also becomes aware that the Bayou community is running into its own cultural roadblocks. Politicians are pushing to make it illegal to speak the native Patois French language.
Before long, she is teaching some of the community elders whose English is very limited how to speak the language. At the same time, they are teaching her to speak French.
Toss a rare white alligator into the mix, an alligator that is not only naturally endangered, but is being hunted by people trying to do away with what many people think is nothing more than a myth.
The characters were kind and likable and a wonderful part of the entire sweet story. As for the setting, I’m not kidding when I say that you can practically smell the gumbo cooking and the corn bread coming out of the oven. You can hear the cicadas sing and clearly envision the alligators’ eyes peeking out of the water.
Under the Bayou Moon was a refreshing change of pace, and a wonderful story. I highly recommend the book.