Review: Under the Bayou Moon, by Valerie Fraser Luesse

book coverOverview

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.


Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.

I’ve never been to Louisiana, let alone the bayou, but the newest novel from Valerie Fraser Luesse makes me want to visit. I fell in love with Under the Bayou Moon from the excerpt alone, and the balance of the book lived up to my initial expectations. Through the eyes of outsider Ellie, the setting took on a magical and ethereal quality as she guided her boat through the swamp and the hanging gypsy moss. I adored the gentle way of life found in the community of Bernadette, so far removed from the hustle and bustle of post-war America. This is a place where Creole and Cajun come together, supporting each other through good times and bad, and where all have hope of a better future for their children.

Although primarily a story of daily life in the bayou, Under the Bayou Moon has a touch of thriller woven throughout its pages thanks to the machinations of outsiders who care little for the small community. But the mystical elements of Luesse’s writing means that what goes around comes around, and there are subtle moments of irony in the final pages not lost on this reader.

If there’s a place like Bernadette, I want to visit.

If there’s a movie like Under the Bayou Moon, I want to see it.



Product Information

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 03 August 2021

Book Information


author photoAuthor Information

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the author of Almost Home and the bestselling, Christy Award–winning Missing Isaac. Her third novel, The Key to Everything, was inspired by a true story. An award-winning magazine writer, Luesse is best known for her features and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently the senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, she has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Acadian Louisiana, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. The author lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, Dave—and a mischievous orange cat named Cheeto.

Valerie Fraser Luesse’s Website


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