A Dance in Donegal By Jennifer Deibel

It is the 1920’s and Moria is on the cusp of an exciting future, all looks bright.  She has just graduated and qualified to be a teacher.  Her mother’s beloved village in Donegal, Ireland has offered her a teaching job.  Instilled with her mother’s never dying love of her hometown, she is going to go.  Then suddenly her mother dies.  After several months she decides to go ahead and move and take the job.  She is nervous and a bit frightened being all alone in the world, but she knows this would make her mother happy.

Greater obstacles than just moving to a new country face her. There are odd quirks to the language, superstitions, customs and a very different culture.  Upon arriving the locals treat her with contempt and she hears odd murmurings about her mother, but has no clue about the reasons.  She purposes to soldier on and throw her life and heart into educating the children.  She also wants to ferret out the truth about her mother. 

She does find some loving and supportive friends to carry her through.  I was endeared to those characters.  I found their compassion and making her a part of their homes comforting. Sean McFadden was one of those friends.  He became her protector and listening ear.  What impressed me the most was Moria’s diligence in seeking God and His Word for strength and guidance. I love the scriptures quote and how she applied them to her problems.  Throughout I see Moria grow not only as a woman but also as a Christian. Very inspiring! As the story unfolds there are many twists and turns, not to mention big surprises.  I wish I could share more but I don’t want to give away the story!

I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions I have stated are my own.

The Moonlight School By Suzanne Woods Fisher

I love everything about this book: the cover, the title and the story!  If that isn’t wonderful enough, the fact that it is based on a true story is icing on the cake!  Many of the characters in the book were real people!  Cora Wilson Stewart fought tirelessly for the education of the Appalachian children and adults.  She didn’t just campaign but took actions to further her dream.  She herself grew  up in the hills of Kentucky where poverty and lack of educational opportunity was the norm.  How well she understood their plight. Her accomplishments are incredible.

In this fictional story, Cora’s, wealthy and privileged younger cousin is sent by her father to assist her.  Lucy has the impression that she is coming as a stenographer.  Cora shatters that preconceived idea very quickly.  In a few days Lucy is on horseback (she has never ridden a horse) and being sent up into the woods and hills of the Kentucky Hollows to see people she has not clue where they live!  She is definitely put out of her comfort zone.  Her job is to take write the letters they want to send family and loved ones.  As you can imagine she is overwhelmed.

Severe poverty, lack of hygiene, not to mention countless traditions and superstitions of the people is a bit of a culture shock at first. She grows to realize the vast gulf between the life she has taken for granted and theirs. Very quickly Lucy develops a love the people and hurt for their suffering.  She blossoms into quite activist for those she serves.

Appalachia and its people have always held a fascination for me.  The author’s descriptiveness of the people, their environment, and their customs added to my interest.  The characters are captivating. Wyatt and Angie were two of my favorites. The book is much deeper than just this historical time and the wonderful people. There are many surprises, one especially about a tragedy in Lucy’s past.   A beautifully written book you don’t want to miss reading!

I received this book from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.

That Way and No Other By Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael is one of my two favorite female missionaries. From the 1st time I started reading her books she had an enormous impact on my spiritual life. She writes like no other author I have ever read. Her words reach deep into you that inspire, convict and open your eyes. I believe her writing is so powerful because she led a totally committed life to the Lord and doing the work he called her to do. She lived life of total sacrifice, something that is rare in any era.
The first part of this book introduces the reader to who Amy was with two short biographies. The following 6 chapters are excerpts from her books. Her wisdom and spiritual insights are dynamic! The subjects she covers are varied. All are fruits of her 55 years on the mission field and the incredible challenges she faced. I wanted to underline, memorize and line after line. This book will inspire you in ways you can’t imagine!