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By Way of the Moonlight

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A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Book for Fall 2022 Two courageous young women, tied together by blood and shared passion, will risk everything to save what they love most. For as long as she can remember, Allie Massey, a gifted physical therapist, has dreamed of making her grandparents’ ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy—a A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Book for Fall 2022 Two courageous young women, tied together by blood and shared passion, will risk everything to save what they love most. For as long as she can remember, Allie Massey, a gifted physical therapist, has dreamed of making her grandparents’ ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy—a dream her grandmother, Nana Dale, embraced wholeheartedly. But when her grandmother’s will is read, Allie is shocked to learn the property has been sold to a developer. Decades earlier, headstrong Dale Butler’s driving passion is to bring home the prized filly her family lost to the Great Depression, but with World War II looming, she’s called upon in ways she never could have imagined. And while her world expands to include new friends and new love, tragedy strikes close to home one fateful night during the Battle of the Atlantic, changing her life forever. As Nana Dale’s past comes to light in Allie’s search for answers, Dale’s courage and persistence may be just what Allie needs to carry on her grandmother’s legacy and keep her own dreams alive. "Lush and romantic prose uplifts this affecting tale that celebrates the hard-won wisdom of elders. This is perfect for book clubs." Publishers Weekly “Musser delivers yet another emotional escape.”—Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials “The characters in this touching double story stayed with me long after ‘the end.’ One of the best novels I’ve read this year.”—Lynn Austin, author of Long Way Home “Elizabeth’s signature artistry as a storyteller dazzles in By Way of the Moonlight. Brimming with impressive historical detail, here is a story to remind us all that we can honor the past and still bravely embrace the future.” –Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things


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A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Book for Fall 2022 Two courageous young women, tied together by blood and shared passion, will risk everything to save what they love most. For as long as she can remember, Allie Massey, a gifted physical therapist, has dreamed of making her grandparents’ ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy—a A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Book for Fall 2022 Two courageous young women, tied together by blood and shared passion, will risk everything to save what they love most. For as long as she can remember, Allie Massey, a gifted physical therapist, has dreamed of making her grandparents’ ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy—a dream her grandmother, Nana Dale, embraced wholeheartedly. But when her grandmother’s will is read, Allie is shocked to learn the property has been sold to a developer. Decades earlier, headstrong Dale Butler’s driving passion is to bring home the prized filly her family lost to the Great Depression, but with World War II looming, she’s called upon in ways she never could have imagined. And while her world expands to include new friends and new love, tragedy strikes close to home one fateful night during the Battle of the Atlantic, changing her life forever. As Nana Dale’s past comes to light in Allie’s search for answers, Dale’s courage and persistence may be just what Allie needs to carry on her grandmother’s legacy and keep her own dreams alive. "Lush and romantic prose uplifts this affecting tale that celebrates the hard-won wisdom of elders. This is perfect for book clubs." Publishers Weekly “Musser delivers yet another emotional escape.”—Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials “The characters in this touching double story stayed with me long after ‘the end.’ One of the best novels I’ve read this year.”—Lynn Austin, author of Long Way Home “Elizabeth’s signature artistry as a storyteller dazzles in By Way of the Moonlight. Brimming with impressive historical detail, here is a story to remind us all that we can honor the past and still bravely embrace the future.” –Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things

30 review for By Way of the Moonlight

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amanda (BookLoverAmanda)

    Review updated to have my full video review: https://youtu.be/Y7I2qeyTIsg By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser has completely blown me away. This is in my top 5 books of the year! I was so beautifully surprised by this book and can’t wait to tell everyone about it on my YouTube channel! This is perfect for lovers of historical fiction and horses! Thank you to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing me with a copy to honestly read and review. I loved this book so much that I have ordered Review updated to have my full video review: https://youtu.be/Y7I2qeyTIsg By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser has completely blown me away. This is in my top 5 books of the year! I was so beautifully surprised by this book and can’t wait to tell everyone about it on my YouTube channel! This is perfect for lovers of historical fiction and horses! Thank you to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing me with a copy to honestly read and review. I loved this book so much that I have ordered a physical copy for my shelves! By Way of the Moonlight is a generational story about 2 courageous women who share their love for horses, family, and what matters most. About the story: Allie Massey is a physical therapist who has dreamed of making her grandparents’ ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy – a treatment that uses the connection between people and horses to enhance physical or emotional healing. This has been a dream of Allie’s grandmother, Nana Dale, for as long as she can remember. Unfortunately, when Nana Dale passes away and her will is read, Allie is shocked when she learns the property has been sold to a developer. What can Allie do to try and save her grandmother’s legacy and property to keep her dreams alive? Set in Georgia, this story was a beautiful dual timeline story set both in modern day, right before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and during the late 1930s-early 1940s. (Ya'll know I love a good southern setting!) In the modern day, we follow Allie’s journey with her family and fiancé Austin as Allie navigates through what to do with the devastating news about Nana Dale’s property and her relationship with Austin. Allie becomes obsessed with trying to find out everything about Nana Dale’s past from all the clues she has left behind before it’s too late and the property is demolished. In the World War II time, we follow Nana Dale’s entire life story as a young teenager to young adult, with her one true love, Tommy. She was such a feisty, strong willed young woman and had such a love for horses and dreams unlike anyone has seen before. I also loved learning about the Coast Guard Beach Patrol and the guarding of the coastline – I did not know about this! This story was so interesting and a part of history I think many would enjoy learning about. Plus, I don’t know a lot about horses so that was a big plus! I loved learning about them too. I absolutely loved the way the author did the dual timeline in this story. Sometimes it can be difficult to follow what’s going on in a dual timeline, but Elizabeth Musser did a phenomenal job! For example, one scene would end with the daughter looking at a rainbow and then the next opens with her grandmother looking at one as well. It was just so well put together that I could see it being a movie and easy to follow. The characters in this story are what made it so beautiful and inspiring for me. I was so invested in Nana Dale and Tommy’s story – I had to know what happened next. I cried so many times at the end of this story – it truly will move you to tears. I could feel what the characters were feeling – my heart broke right there with them as they went through some terrible hardships. I felt like they were my own family and I was with them through everything. I also loved the main character of Allie – she was so determined to figure out her grandmother’s story and do everything she could to keep her dreams alive and I loved it. The Lord truly worked in such a way in this story, and I could see His hand in it. This story showcases the significance of putting our faith in the Lord. The ending shocked me in a good way and I am still reeling in my feelings over this story. It’s easily in my top 5 books of the year. My heart was broken and restored all at the same time. Overall, a beautiful Christian historical fiction that I will be thinking about for a long time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Miller

    A stunning novel, By Way of the Moonlight transports readers back to a time where the world knew hardship and struggles—the Great Depression and WW2, shedding light on aspects of the war that make this book stand out amongst the others. This book made me smile, hold my breath in anticipation, made my heart hurt and put it back together again. That, coupled with a beautiful demonstration of bravery, love, and sacrifice—what more could you ask for in historical fiction? By Way of the Moonlight is A stunning novel, By Way of the Moonlight transports readers back to a time where the world knew hardship and struggles—the Great Depression and WW2, shedding light on aspects of the war that make this book stand out amongst the others. This book made me smile, hold my breath in anticipation, made my heart hurt and put it back together again. That, coupled with a beautiful demonstration of bravery, love, and sacrifice—what more could you ask for in historical fiction? By Way of the Moonlight is a book to prioritize high on your TBR!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Haley Annabelle

    I had my ups and downs with this book. But in the end I did like it! Basically it’s the story of Allie, an equine therapist, discovering all the secrets of her grandmothers past. I think most of the reason it wasn’t an instant like was because of the dual timeline. That always throws me off. The message in the end was so sweet and important-stop being obsessed with getting more than you have, just be grateful. I always need this reminder, and this was such a great time to finish this book. I tot I had my ups and downs with this book. But in the end I did like it! Basically it’s the story of Allie, an equine therapist, discovering all the secrets of her grandmothers past. I think most of the reason it wasn’t an instant like was because of the dual timeline. That always throws me off. The message in the end was so sweet and important-stop being obsessed with getting more than you have, just be grateful. I always need this reminder, and this was such a great time to finish this book. I totally choked up crying in this book, the sadness was overwhelming. But also the joy and happiness was so well written. My favorite part was learning about the Atlantic during WWII. I had no idea that there was so much action off the coast of Georgia! And how weird it was to read a book talking about the Coronavirus. It’s like reading Historical fiction about my own history 😂 the conspiracy theorist guy even made his appearance. What I didn’t like(cleanliness): I think the romantic aspects were too much for my taste, the was a lot of focus on a crush that started when she was only 12, and there was a whole lot of kissing. Also, I would have liked more actual Bible and church in the story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    Such a rich story of equestrian competitions and equine therapy dreams. Ms. Musser draws on her childhood memories of her love of horses and weaves in a fascinating time in history when the east coast of the US was threatened during WWII. The author masterfully combines the 1930s and 40s with present day to teach us about family and legacy, hopes and dreams, obsession and disappointment, and grit and determination. This lovely story had me in tears at times-both happy and sad. I have loved histo Such a rich story of equestrian competitions and equine therapy dreams. Ms. Musser draws on her childhood memories of her love of horses and weaves in a fascinating time in history when the east coast of the US was threatened during WWII. The author masterfully combines the 1930s and 40s with present day to teach us about family and legacy, hopes and dreams, obsession and disappointment, and grit and determination. This lovely story had me in tears at times-both happy and sad. I have loved history for a long time and my heart goes out to those who preserve old things especially family houses. I would have loved to visit Barbara Dale Butler’s estate. Even though it is fictional, I could see it! I loved how Ms Musser brought the WWII home front battles to life with such vividness. The story of Dale and Tommy was so touching. Equally interesting was the present day timeline and the search for treasure. When you weren’t sure if the treasure was something real or something to be learned. “Life is a paradox, Allie. When you learn to embrace it all, let it mix together like molasses in oats, well, the sweet fragrance comes out. Even when life stinks.” Since the present time was 2020, Covid 19 did play a part in the story. However, the author used the virus as a plot device to bring people together, rather than as a scary situation. This was an excellent story of family, faith, and fortitude. Not to be missed. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  5. 5 out of 5

    MJSH

    "It will never be enough until you decide that you already have it all. You settle in your mind a grateful heart, a content spirit, and everything else will be gravy, girl." Elizabeth Musser has a beautiful and lyrical style of writing that draws you in completely into her world. She invites you to settle in to her characters' lives and become fully immersed in their experiences - the joys, the sorrows, the heartbreaks. The first person storyline narrated by Allie in 2020 is cohesively entwined w "It will never be enough until you decide that you already have it all. You settle in your mind a grateful heart, a content spirit, and everything else will be gravy, girl." Elizabeth Musser has a beautiful and lyrical style of writing that draws you in completely into her world. She invites you to settle in to her characters' lives and become fully immersed in their experiences - the joys, the sorrows, the heartbreaks. The first person storyline narrated by Allie in 2020 is cohesively entwined with third person narrative of Allie's grandmother Dale spanning the 1930s and 1940s. Allie and Dale are quite similar in their passionate, driven personalities but Dale had seen much loss and grief, as well as triumph and purpose, that Allie just starts to discover when she attempts to organize her grandmother's estate after her passing. I loved Austin, the steadfast dependable one, from the present and Tommy, the adventurous daredevil, from the past and how easy it was to get to know them though the eyes of the women who love them. I learned quite a bit about horses, equine therapy, horseshows, and large animal vet work through the characters and the setting. Faith thread is strong and themes of true contentment and healing are powerful and moving. Poignant, nostalgic, and thought-provoking, this newest book by Elizabeth Musser is a must-read of 2022. I received the book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Are you a fan of horses? By the Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser ties together a love of horses through generations along with other family history and struggles to weave a fascinating dual timeline story. Allie Massey is a physical therapist with a dream of making her grandparents' estate into an equine therapy center. Her grandmother, Nana Dale, embraced Allie's dream and promised her that it would happen for her one day after she passed away. However, to Allie's shock and utter disbeli Are you a fan of horses? By the Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser ties together a love of horses through generations along with other family history and struggles to weave a fascinating dual timeline story. Allie Massey is a physical therapist with a dream of making her grandparents' estate into an equine therapy center. Her grandmother, Nana Dale, embraced Allie's dream and promised her that it would happen for her one day after she passed away. However, to Allie's shock and utter disbelief, when the will is read, things have changed and the land is sold to a developer. Allie is tasked with cleaning out Nana's house within three weeks before the house is knocked over. During that time, she reflects on her life and we learn more of Nana Dale's history. Can Allie's dreams stay alive through this crisis? I'm not a real fan of horses but I enjoyed By the Way of the Moonlight. If you are a horse fan, I imagine it would be even better. However, I found it easy to follow the characters stories in this dual timeline story. I also could empathize with the struggles Allie faces--as well as Nana Dale's struggles. I like how faith is woven in the book. I like how the character's personalities shine through. I like how the book makes you think about how you are treating others and spending your time. This would be a good book to use with a book club. There is a list of questions in the back of the book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions within this review are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (Nissa_the.bookworm)

    Read this if you love 🌎 great world building 🐎 to ride horses 💪🏼 accomplished women ❤️ true love 👵🏻👩🏼 a dual POV •What it’s about Wow. What an absolutely amazing story. Told from two POVs, we see Allie, in 2020, and her grandmother, Dale, growing up throughout the 30s and beyond. Allie is currently going through her grandmother’s house that is set to be demolished in a few weeks time. Nana Dale left everything to Allie, but at some point, something went wrong. The house is no longer hers. Now Allie is Read this if you love 🌎 great world building 🐎 to ride horses 💪🏼 accomplished women ❤️ true love 👵🏻👩🏼 a dual POV •What it’s about Wow. What an absolutely amazing story. Told from two POVs, we see Allie, in 2020, and her grandmother, Dale, growing up throughout the 30s and beyond. Allie is currently going through her grandmother’s house that is set to be demolished in a few weeks time. Nana Dale left everything to Allie, but at some point, something went wrong. The house is no longer hers. Now Allie is trying desperately to find the last thing Nana Dale left for her, a small cherrywood chest that holds the key to her future. Dale’s story, on the other hand, tells all about her childhood; growing up, rearing horses, and meeting the love of her life, Tommy, at a young age. As she lives through the Great Depression and WWII, Dale will see and accomplish things no other woman was doing at that time. Intertwining with one another, each woman’s story builds off of the other as Allie learns more and more about the mysterious past her grandmother never shared with anyone, until now. •My Thoughts I loved everything about this novel. Both the past and the present were fascinating. The author did an amazing job of winding real history into this story, and she created a world so real for me. I could picture everything. In short, I fell in love with these characters. Every last one of them. I admired the love between Tommy and Dale, and how that love seemed to be reflected in Allie and Austin’s relationship. The twist at the end was also unexpected but perfect!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This book was so, so beautiful! It touched me in a way I didn’t expect. This is a story of family, faith, dreams, loss, and love. I loved it so much! When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. It made me feel so many emotions. I was lost in Allie and her grandmother’s story until I had finished it. And when I finished it, I was left feeling so many emotions but ultimately I was left feeling inspired by this book. Time-slip novels are usually tricky for me. I sometimes get disoriented whe This book was so, so beautiful! It touched me in a way I didn’t expect. This is a story of family, faith, dreams, loss, and love. I loved it so much! When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. It made me feel so many emotions. I was lost in Allie and her grandmother’s story until I had finished it. And when I finished it, I was left feeling so many emotions but ultimately I was left feeling inspired by this book. Time-slip novels are usually tricky for me. I sometimes get disoriented when books hop from one time-period to the next. Not so with this one! The dual timeline was so, so well done. It transitioned from one time-period/ point of view so seamlessly! I quickly got invested in both Allie and her grandmother, Dale’s, story. Both of their stories were woven together so beautifully! It was so bittersweet to watch as Allie went through her grandmother’s treasures, discovering her story one piece at the time, and then getting to see the past come alive through Dale’s point of view. It was beautifully done! The characters felt so real! Their story felt so real to me. I could see many similarities between Allie and Dale’s personality as well their story which was neat to see. But at the same time, they were both their own person with their own stories. Both passionate, strong, driven women who had their faults but learned to work through them with God’s grace and love. Then there were the men of the story. Austin seemed like a great guy, and I thought he and Allie were perfect for each other! But Dale’s Tommy Ridley was the one who stole my heart. I immediately fell in love with the historical timeline the moment Tommy came into the picture. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the determined, courageous, vivacious boy just as Dale did. Dale and Tommy’s love story had me in tears. It was so beautiful. I adore childhood friends-to-lovers and I adored this one. Oh my goodness, just thinking about it! I haven’t read a story that made me that emotional in a while. I love books set in the south so I enjoyed the setting a lot! And while I don’t know a lot about horses, I really did enjoy that aspect of the plot. Equine therapy sounds amazing! I found the history in this story really interesting, especially the WW2 storyline. Content wise, there were some kisses but not very descriptive. There is some mild innuendo. There is not much on-page violence but there are descriptions of wounded men but not overly descriptive as to make me lightheaded. I’d recommend to older teens and up. As I said before, this story inspired me so much. The faith in this book was beautiful. It talks about the power of prayer and relying on God is such a beautiful way. The faith was woven so beautifully into the plot. It really touched me and I took it to heart. It also has themes of finding contentment in what you have and where you’re at in life which is something I especially needed to hear! It talks about grief and loss in a real, raw way. I teared up several times. I even felt like my heart was breaking along with the characters. It’s true there are many sad, heartbreaking moments in this story but there’s also really happy ones. I liked that this story was true-to-life because life isn’t always smiles. There will be tears and sorrow. But I loved that this book told a story of how you can find help in your hurting and you are not alone. Overall, I loved this book more than I ever anticipated! It was beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at the same time. It broke my heart and I cried, but I also smiled and found hope between the pages. I loved it, especially the message. If you love dual timeline stories that center around family history, horses, faith, and love, I think you’ll really enjoy this one! *Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for a review! All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Raney

    Elizabeth Musser gives us another beautiful story with a lush setting on the Golden Isles off the southern Georgia coast. The fascinating equestrian thread and compelling characters weave through both the contemporary and historical facets of this novel, making this one you won’t want to miss!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "In life, you often have to take the risk of being misunderstood. That's what I've done. I love my family, you know that. But I can't trust them with the money. . . . My daddy's cousin tried to find a way to steal all our property back during the Depression. Got to watch out for property hawks. . . . I've seen too many families ripped apart over inheritances." Then why in the world had her Nana Dale stipulated in her will that Allie's inheritance be sold to a developer upon her death? What about "In life, you often have to take the risk of being misunderstood. That's what I've done. I love my family, you know that. But I can't trust them with the money. . . . My daddy's cousin tried to find a way to steal all our property back during the Depression. Got to watch out for property hawks. . . . I've seen too many families ripped apart over inheritances." Then why in the world had her Nana Dale stipulated in her will that Allie's inheritance be sold to a developer upon her death? What about Allie's dream, the one she thought that her grandmother shared? They had talked over and over again about an equine therapy center, but in the end Allie was going to lose everything; the house, the land, her future with Austin. Well, if the truth were known, Allie had lost Austin all by herself. She had been determined, or in his words "obsessed", with finding answers that were apparently hidden in a small wooden chest which Allie couldn't seem to locate. What secrets could the diminutive woman with a fierce passion for faith and family (and horses! especially horses!) have kept hidden away all of these years? . . . . monumental ones. "Life is a paradox, Allie. When you learn to embrace it all, let it mix together like molasses in oats, well, the sweet fragrance comes out. Even when life stinks." Upon first glance this book reads like two totally different stories . . . until they aren't. Granted, it's lengthy and the word count made me realize that in order to fully appreciate the depth that I needed to take breaks, needed to let the impact and the emotions sink in before bravely pushing ahead. For this is a courageous story for these characters to tell. They not only have to move forward, they have to look inward and we all know how painful that can be at times, but we haven't been left to our own devices. . . . " faith don't stop the horrible things. But faith helps you walk through those things, whipped and angry and screaming on the inside. . . And the surprising thing is that the Good Lord will fill up all that emptiness with good things". I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    maiaisreading

    #BookReview: BY WAY OF THE MOONLIGHT by Elizabeth Musser “It’s like learning to ride a horse, Allie. Praying, trusting God – the more you practice, the better you get at understanding how He wants you to live. It doesn't happen overnight. In my case, He’s had a stubborn, ornery woman to work with. Some things have changed. I'm a work in progress.” Aren’t we all a work in progress? I love those lines in the book. Everyday is a blessing for us to continue to be hopeful and faithful to God. Nana Dale #BookReview: BY WAY OF THE MOONLIGHT by Elizabeth Musser “It’s like learning to ride a horse, Allie. Praying, trusting God – the more you practice, the better you get at understanding how He wants you to live. It doesn't happen overnight. In my case, He’s had a stubborn, ornery woman to work with. Some things have changed. I'm a work in progress.” Aren’t we all a work in progress? I love those lines in the book. Everyday is a blessing for us to continue to be hopeful and faithful to God. Nana Dale’s heartbreaking yet hopeful story during the Great Depression and WWII was inspiring. She was one determined lady. She was a hard worker with a big heart. I am not into horses but even I found it engaging with Dale’s passion borderline obsession with horses. It was nice to learn more about the equestrian world.. It was great to know about the mounted soldiers on the coast of Georgia. Florida, Georgia, North or South Carolina during WWII. The characters were realistic to the point that I wasn’t a fan of Allie. Nonetheless, I was still engaged in the two stories. The book was a tad too long for me but the switch was seamless and it made me want to know more. Maybe I was just impatient as the mystery unfolds. I was excited with each revelation. The faith aspect was weaved nicely in the story. I enjoyed the author’s other books and this one didn’t disappoint. Christians like everyone else are not perfect. Everyday is a journey to grow and be more Christ-like. Christian fiction lovers will surely enjoy this dual timeline story of family, inheritance, faith, hope and courage. Rating: 4 stars Pub date: out now Thank you Bethany House for the complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    Two resilient women decades apart are challenged by love and loss as the world changes around them. Allie Massey is watching her life go to shambles around her, the future that she had all mapped falling to pieces. She has a short time frame to pack up all of her beloved grandmother's things and clear out the property before everything is leveled and the commercial landowners take over. But going through the mementos reveals a secret side of her grandmother and her amazing courage. A well crafte Two resilient women decades apart are challenged by love and loss as the world changes around them. Allie Massey is watching her life go to shambles around her, the future that she had all mapped falling to pieces. She has a short time frame to pack up all of her beloved grandmother's things and clear out the property before everything is leveled and the commercial landowners take over. But going through the mementos reveals a secret side of her grandmother and her amazing courage. A well crafted read that is a mix between character and plot driven. The story meanders at its own pace, taking time to carefully bring all the pieces together in rich detail, while keeping me invested and wondering how it would all work out. I loved learning about Allie's grandmother, especially how she served in the war, as well as her courage and daring. I liked how the story was told through alternating viewpoints in the present day with Allie, and decades earlier with Dale, sometimes foreshadowing what would happen in the other time and place. Overall, a compelling, richly woven read, with a strong message of faith and hope. A compelling read that will take you through a gambit of emotions, captivating in the best way! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Debra Slonek

    I was absorbed into this well-written and well-researched, dual timeline, historical fiction novel. I learned many things from the WW2 timeline. I now have a better understanding and appreciation for the folks who bravely served to protect our coastlines. I also learned about two life changing diseases that we no longer worry about, thanks to modern medicine. I loved the bonds between the horses and their owners…heartwarming and heartbreaking. The horses trained and competed in equine events, pat I was absorbed into this well-written and well-researched, dual timeline, historical fiction novel. I learned many things from the WW2 timeline. I now have a better understanding and appreciation for the folks who bravely served to protect our coastlines. I also learned about two life changing diseases that we no longer worry about, thanks to modern medicine. I loved the bonds between the horses and their owners…heartwarming and heartbreaking. The horses trained and competed in equine events, patrolled beaches and provided therapy to precious folks in need. Horses are truly noble creatures. It is so amazing and gratifying when almost forgotten prayers finally get answered. This happened for Dale. Her answered prayers led to the sweetest of reunions. This reunion yielded much joy and encouragement, not just for her, but for everyone around her. Definitely a happy tears moment! I loved the relationship between Nana Dale and Allie. Nana Dale passed, leaving behind deliberate clues which would reveal and explain many of her secrets, some of which she had held and guarded for most of her life. These clues and revealed secrets were life changing for those she left behind. Grief and joy can and do go hand in hand. I received complimentary copies of this book from Bethany House Publishers through UpLit Reads and NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are mine.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin (CMAReads)

    Thanks to Bethany House for the free book. This book caught me by surprise. It started off slow - a bit too slow for me - but as the book neared the 150 page mark, I became invested in this story. The story is started a lot in Dale's timeline and her time with her horses. If you're a horse fan, I have no doubt that you would enjoy this book. What an interesting time of WWII to focus on. I had known a smidge about u-boat spotting from the Atlantic coast, but I knew nothing about the Sand Pounders. Thanks to Bethany House for the free book. This book caught me by surprise. It started off slow - a bit too slow for me - but as the book neared the 150 page mark, I became invested in this story. The story is started a lot in Dale's timeline and her time with her horses. If you're a horse fan, I have no doubt that you would enjoy this book. What an interesting time of WWII to focus on. I had known a smidge about u-boat spotting from the Atlantic coast, but I knew nothing about the Sand Pounders. And in between the history, I fell for Dale and her assertiveness. I love it when a young woman fights for what she wants and believes in. The relationships in this novel are tender and deep. There are also some real pains present, which caused me to tear up a time or two. Dale's story is also balanced with Allie's in March 2020. I was intrigued by this timing and how the pandemic would be incorporated into the novel. There is a lot of hurt and grief that gets worked through in this timeline, too. These timelines converged to make a beautiful story of family, love, dreams, hurts, and resilience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Ule

    By Way of the Moonlight introduces readers to an unheralded part of WWII I'd only read about in Homer Hickam's "Torpedo Junction." This is an interesting split time novel I would have enjoyed better if not for the "info dumps" in the dialogue. Some of the history needed to be shared in action, not telling and every time I encountered such an explanation, I lost interest in the story. It also has a trademark happy ending, which didn't need to be such a surprise for me. Still, a story worth reading. By Way of the Moonlight introduces readers to an unheralded part of WWII I'd only read about in Homer Hickam's "Torpedo Junction." This is an interesting split time novel I would have enjoyed better if not for the "info dumps" in the dialogue. Some of the history needed to be shared in action, not telling and every time I encountered such an explanation, I lost interest in the story. It also has a trademark happy ending, which didn't need to be such a surprise for me. Still, a story worth reading.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby Crea

    Unforgettable!! What a beautiful and compelling story with an equestrian thread woven through both timelines, rich in history, including the Great Depression, and aspects of WWII that I had never known about. I absolutely loved it! Love, heartbreak, bravery, courage, and secrets are wrapped up in this incredible novel, along with a beautiful and gentle faith thread. "But Nana Dale was filled with secrets and surprises, not the least of which was barnyard wisdom that often included phrases that so Unforgettable!! What a beautiful and compelling story with an equestrian thread woven through both timelines, rich in history, including the Great Depression, and aspects of WWII that I had never known about. I absolutely loved it! Love, heartbreak, bravery, courage, and secrets are wrapped up in this incredible novel, along with a beautiful and gentle faith thread. "But Nana Dale was filled with secrets and surprises, not the least of which was barnyard wisdom that often included phrases that sounded a lot like they came from the Good Book." Excellent historical fiction, I highly recommend By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser. I love learning about history through historical fiction! Thank you to the author, publisher, and Net Galley for allowing me to read an early copy. All opinions are my own. I have pre-ordered a copy for my keeper shelf!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    Some books enter your life at the perfect time. You couldn’t have planned for or expected them; they just…came. And the only explanation is that it’s a God thing. This is definitely one of those books and experiences. Musser is at her best, again, with _By Way of the Moonlight_; I felt it harkened back to _The Swan House_, my favorite of hers and among inspy fic in general. It epitomizes her tagline of writing “entertainment with soul,” and takes the reader on journeys around the South and within Some books enter your life at the perfect time. You couldn’t have planned for or expected them; they just…came. And the only explanation is that it’s a God thing. This is definitely one of those books and experiences. Musser is at her best, again, with _By Way of the Moonlight_; I felt it harkened back to _The Swan House_, my favorite of hers and among inspy fic in general. It epitomizes her tagline of writing “entertainment with soul,” and takes the reader on journeys around the South and within a family and century loaded with layers, depth, and meaning. Finding out some of Musser’s own familial basis was inspiration for the story lent gravitas and elevated the read even more deeply. I learned so much in this read, about stateside WWII history, the power and importance of contentment and trust in what God has given each of us, and how to look to Him, and how He will sustain us, in dark times. Truly one that will stay with me for a long time to come. I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    I’m always delighted to see a new novel from this author because I know it will be a journey, that is thought-provoking, and I’ll a thing or two along the way. I was thrilled to be on the UpLit launch team for this book, which is a very personal one for this author. I enjoyed the youtube videos where the author takes readers on a tour of her childhood home in Atlanta, GA. She describes the fun they had there and how this house became the setting for her new book. The story opens in March 2020 wit I’m always delighted to see a new novel from this author because I know it will be a journey, that is thought-provoking, and I’ll a thing or two along the way. I was thrilled to be on the UpLit launch team for this book, which is a very personal one for this author. I enjoyed the youtube videos where the author takes readers on a tour of her childhood home in Atlanta, GA. She describes the fun they had there and how this house became the setting for her new book. The story opens in March 2020 with a headline “Dinosaur bones found in Buckhead residence” and introduces readers to Allie Massie a trained physical therapist. Everyone in her family is surprised by the sudden passing of her grandmother, and then again surprised when the will is read. Something has gone wrong, and they try to figure it out. Allie is obsessed with finding what her grandmother had promised her. They had a plan and worked close together for many years to have things not end up like this. Allie sits down to delve into a scrapbook she was given to help her put the pieces of this puzzle together. When Allie does this, the timeline changes to her grandmother as a younger woman passionate about horses and sheds light on her accomplishments before the war and then after, WII breaks out. Allie discovers a heart-breaking story she never knew about. One that demonstrated her grandmother’s bravery, sacrifice, loyalty and love to her family and her country. This story had a slow start as the author built up to a climatic, heart-breaking, story that will stay with you long after you close the book. And one that would work well for your book club pick. Disclosure of Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book by the publisher/NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! The Book Club Network blog https://psalm516.blogspot.com/

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    If you like historical fiction with also current time period, this new book by Elizabeth Musser, By Way of the Moonlight is for you. This was a page turner, so interesting and I could relate to the story! I loved the author’s writing style, moving through the time period of World War II and time period of 2020. A story about a spunky strong-headed grandma and her granddaughter in their different time periods. The granddaughter is unearthing a secret life her grandmother lived. All the while in h If you like historical fiction with also current time period, this new book by Elizabeth Musser, By Way of the Moonlight is for you. This was a page turner, so interesting and I could relate to the story! I loved the author’s writing style, moving through the time period of World War II and time period of 2020. A story about a spunky strong-headed grandma and her granddaughter in their different time periods. The granddaughter is unearthing a secret life her grandmother lived. All the while in hopes of saving her grandmother’s horse estate so she can open an equine therapy. While reading about her grandmother’s life, I learned more history of the Battle of the Atlantic, merchant marines, Liberty Ships, and the Coast Guard Mounted Patrol. Which was a part of history I have not heard much about or is written much about in the history books. The story deals with secrets, mother-daughter relationships, family dysfunction, courage, and heartache. Here are some great quotes from the book: “It’ll break your heart, Dale. And you’ll grieve. But loving an animal and losing it, watching it die, and then getting another, well, it teaches a person she can love again.” “In life, you often have to take the risk of being misunderstood. That’s what I’ve done.I love my family, you know that. But I can’t trust them with the money.” “I’m such a mess, Lord. I really believed I was doing all this for a higher cause. It didn’t start out being about me. It started out being about them – about students who needed therapy, about the greater good the house and property could be used for. But it got twisted, and I had worked so hard, and it wasn’t fair! I know life isn’t fair, but I thought I could fight it and turn it around. And now I’ve lost everything.” At the end of the book you will find discussion questions, so it make a great book club book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser is a time-slip novel featuring a horse ranch and broken dreams. The synopsis says some elements of the Great Depression and World War II, but the time period really was not that important to the story. The story does feature a modern day heroine, Allie, who is on a hunt for a cedar box among her grandmother’s things to see what was in it. The past is showing Dale, her grandmother’s, story and legacy with the horses. The writing was deep and could have By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser is a time-slip novel featuring a horse ranch and broken dreams. The synopsis says some elements of the Great Depression and World War II, but the time period really was not that important to the story. The story does feature a modern day heroine, Allie, who is on a hunt for a cedar box among her grandmother’s things to see what was in it. The past is showing Dale, her grandmother’s, story and legacy with the horses. The writing was deep and could have been a lifechanging story for Allie and Dale, but the first third of the novel was really hard to get in to. The story does show Dale as she matures and starts to fall in love with Tommy. BUT in my personal opinion, there is no action. It appears to be a dynamic story, but I really need more action. Maybe have the heroine and hero react more to what happened to their family during the Great Depression. Show how it affected their riding life. Show how it affect their family dynamics and friendship. The Great Depression was such a horrible time for families and should have been a horrible time for Dale’s family, but Mussner glazed over it and focused on the horse training and young love. After a while, I prayed for the novel to end. I flipped through the story, praying to find some World War II action. Not much of that either. Overall, By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser really did not capture my attention. I had a really hard time with the plot, wanting more. I received a complimentary copy of By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser from Bethany House Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Suzie Waltner

    The newest book from Elizabeth Musser is a must-read for fans of dual timeline stories. By Way of the Moonlight is an engaging read that also serves as a reminder of the stories of those who lived through much harder times than those of us in the Gen X and forward generations. Those who experienced both the Great Depression and World War II. In the present day, readers meet Allie. A woman who is about to lose her dream of opening an equine therapy center on her grandmother’s property. As the drea The newest book from Elizabeth Musser is a must-read for fans of dual timeline stories. By Way of the Moonlight is an engaging read that also serves as a reminder of the stories of those who lived through much harder times than those of us in the Gen X and forward generations. Those who experienced both the Great Depression and World War II. In the present day, readers meet Allie. A woman who is about to lose her dream of opening an equine therapy center on her grandmother’s property. As the dream Allie has held close to her heart for years, she goes on a discovery of a huge part of her grandmother’s life that no one in the family knows. There is so much packed into this book. From horses to the Coast Guard’s role in protecting America’s beaches during WWII and much more. But the heart of this book is in the two women who are both human (flaws like stubborn determination and all) and the way they learn to trust God through their heartbreak. I have been a fan of Elizabeth Musser from the first book I read of hers, but By Way of the Moonlight proves her stories get better with every new release and I can’t wait to find out what she has instore for us next. Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive or negative review. All opinions are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Page Journeys

    This sweeping novel is an expansive, multigenerational tale centered around the healing power of horses. Dual timelines beginning in 1931 and 2020 take us into the worlds of physical therapist, Allie, and her grandmother, equestrian Nana Dale. Upon Dale's death, Allie seeks to fulfill a dream of turning her grandparents' Buckhead Georgia estate into a therapeutic equine center. Through Dale's keepsakes, Allie uncovers both family and world history. Musser's writing is vivid and vibrant. Events s This sweeping novel is an expansive, multigenerational tale centered around the healing power of horses. Dual timelines beginning in 1931 and 2020 take us into the worlds of physical therapist, Allie, and her grandmother, equestrian Nana Dale. Upon Dale's death, Allie seeks to fulfill a dream of turning her grandparents' Buckhead Georgia estate into a therapeutic equine center. Through Dale's keepsakes, Allie uncovers both family and world history. Musser's writing is vivid and vibrant. Events such as horse shows in Madison Square Garden, the Stock Market Crash, The Battle of Atlantic provide vivid insight into the world happenings in past and present. Amid the settings of North Fulton County, Atlanta, St. Simons Island, and Hilton Head Island, leaders learn about the Mounted Horse Patrol and more during World War II. Both Allie and Dale's dreams, passions, love, and loss are intertwined within their connections to their beloved horses. Thank You to Net Galley and Bethany House, Bethany House Publishers for the advance reader's copy. I also received an advance copy paperback from Uplit Reads as part of a Campaign Tour. I am providing my unbiased review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    V. Palmer

    If your sixth sense has anything to do with horses, then By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser is an evocative read for the horse lover in you! By Way of the Moonlight was an interesting story! I really loved the Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken vibes that it gave me! Additionally, the various roles equine therapy played in the story deeply moved me. However, the characters weren't soulmate characters for me, and I did feel that the pacing was a little slow. The spiritual plot revolves around Da If your sixth sense has anything to do with horses, then By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser is an evocative read for the horse lover in you! By Way of the Moonlight was an interesting story! I really loved the Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken vibes that it gave me! Additionally, the various roles equine therapy played in the story deeply moved me. However, the characters weren't soulmate characters for me, and I did feel that the pacing was a little slow. The spiritual plot revolves around Dale and Allie's struggle with obsession. I really liked this angle because it's something I don't normally see in Christian fiction. I appreciated their struggles and victories as they let go of obsession and chose contentment. However, while the author very beautifully portrayed how God can bring life and joy out of heartbreaking situations, I have a hard time seeing past a premise that sets up keeping secrets as a good thing. Three Stars ~ By Way of the Moonlight by Elizabeth Musser definitely grabs the heart! By Way of the Moonlight is a standalone, but the author has other titles in her backlist for readers to peruse. Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Really good. Love, hidden treasure, family secrets, betrayal and hurt...quite a journey through it all. I actually don't usually care for split time novels. I don't care for how long they often take to tie together and also always find myself trudging through one story to hurry up and get to the other story. Both stories in this book held my attention immediately and tied together immediately as well, because one story is about Allie, and the other, her grandma Dale. Honestly, I don't think I wo Really good. Love, hidden treasure, family secrets, betrayal and hurt...quite a journey through it all. I actually don't usually care for split time novels. I don't care for how long they often take to tie together and also always find myself trudging through one story to hurry up and get to the other story. Both stories in this book held my attention immediately and tied together immediately as well, because one story is about Allie, and the other, her grandma Dale. Honestly, I don't think I would have even come across this author as she was new to me, unless she had been chosen as author of the month in the Goodreads group, but I'm really glad I found this author because I will read more by her. Clean? Yes! Faith based? Very light faith based element....borderline clean read instead of faith based. Last thing, Tommy and Nana Dale's love story is one of the most beautiful I've ever read. The ending had me in tears! I really enjoyed this one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kara (karas_reads)

    4.5 stars This is a beautifully written, dual timeline story of perseverance, love, loss, and family. I was immediately hooked from the beginning. In the present time, Allie is desperate to save her Grandmother's farm from destruction. Using clues left behind by her grandmother, she must piece together the solution for its salvation. In the 1930's- early 1940's, we follow Allie's grandmother, Dale, as she goes through the Great Depression as a young child and then World War II as a teenager. This 4.5 stars This is a beautifully written, dual timeline story of perseverance, love, loss, and family. I was immediately hooked from the beginning. In the present time, Allie is desperate to save her Grandmother's farm from destruction. Using clues left behind by her grandmother, she must piece together the solution for its salvation. In the 1930's- early 1940's, we follow Allie's grandmother, Dale, as she goes through the Great Depression as a young child and then World War II as a teenager. This book was rich with history about the deep south during World War II, and I learned so much. I had no idea how essential horses and their human partners were in patrolling the beaches and watching for enemy submarines. This book made my inner horse girl so happy. I loved how Musser showed Dales' relationship with her horses. The healing power of horses is amazing, and I thought it was showcased so well in this book. By Way of the Moonlight made me laugh out loud, kept me on the edge of my seat, and absolutely broke my heart. A beautiful story from beginning to end. Thank you to the author, netgalley, and uplit reads for my gifted copy. All opinions are my own

  26. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Jacobus

    Two stories alternating in different times- modern day vs WW2. One of the plot lines was predictable, but the other had me anxious to know what would happen. Even though I’m not a horse person per say, I still appreciated both characters love for their animals. As a bonus, I learned some awesome GA history about WW2.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    Horses are magnificent creatures and they feature largely in this novel by Elizabeth Musser. The narrative reveals the story of Nana Dale and her many secrets as her granddaughter, Allie, desperately tries to crack the riddles of the scavenger hunt in order to save the family property from destruction. I had never heard of the Coast Guard Mounted Patrol before reading this book. The history nuggets were fascinating while tied up in a bittersweet love story. I just knew one part of the mystery bef Horses are magnificent creatures and they feature largely in this novel by Elizabeth Musser. The narrative reveals the story of Nana Dale and her many secrets as her granddaughter, Allie, desperately tries to crack the riddles of the scavenger hunt in order to save the family property from destruction. I had never heard of the Coast Guard Mounted Patrol before reading this book. The history nuggets were fascinating while tied up in a bittersweet love story. I just knew one part of the mystery before it was revealed and the ]n it became apparent why that character was one of my favorites in the story. Slide into,the saddle, tighten the reins, and gallop into a great story. Thanks to NetGalley, Uplitreads and Bethany House for the copy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer K

    This rich historical fiction was an incredible read. It was very well researched and the author’s enthusiasm for heroes and horses permeates both time frames. I had missed the role that the Sand Pounders played in protecting our country during WW2 which is why I found the history very interesting. Also I liked that the pictures of love came in very different ways. The realistic characters faced many struggles and the complicated family dynamics did not help matters. But I appreciated the depth o This rich historical fiction was an incredible read. It was very well researched and the author’s enthusiasm for heroes and horses permeates both time frames. I had missed the role that the Sand Pounders played in protecting our country during WW2 which is why I found the history very interesting. Also I liked that the pictures of love came in very different ways. The realistic characters faced many struggles and the complicated family dynamics did not help matters. But I appreciated the depth of the story and that easy fixes weren’t always found yet restoration and healing were experienced. The lessons of faith are ones that we should all take to heart. Truly, this book was quite the ride. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cori

    I enjoyed this book, the strong family ties and the horses were absolutely beautiful. I love how the author tied in Historical Fiction as well and I learned things about WWII on American soil that I hadn't read before. There is a scene with Tommy and Dale that is absolutely beautiful (that I don't want to spoil) but it will stick with me for a long time. Throughout the book there is an underlying mystery but I like how it was woven between both timelines. I was surprised at the spirituality, esp I enjoyed this book, the strong family ties and the horses were absolutely beautiful. I love how the author tied in Historical Fiction as well and I learned things about WWII on American soil that I hadn't read before. There is a scene with Tommy and Dale that is absolutely beautiful (that I don't want to spoil) but it will stick with me for a long time. Throughout the book there is an underlying mystery but I like how it was woven between both timelines. I was surprised at the spirituality, especially in the 2nd half of the book, I think it could have been a great book without it, but from the author's note I can tell that was important to the author.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Deb Entsminger

    Major Fiction Treasure Alert!!!! Halfway through Elizabeth Musser’s newest book, By Way Of The Moonlight, I knew it was her best yet! But I have to say after just finishing it, oh friends, this is one of the best contemporary fiction stories I have ever read!!! I struggled so much to put it down last night but since my body is still battling covid I knew I had to or risk getting even worse. The story simply flows and is not one bit predictable but full of the most amazing twists and turns and wo Major Fiction Treasure Alert!!!! Halfway through Elizabeth Musser’s newest book, By Way Of The Moonlight, I knew it was her best yet! But I have to say after just finishing it, oh friends, this is one of the best contemporary fiction stories I have ever read!!! I struggled so much to put it down last night but since my body is still battling covid I knew I had to or risk getting even worse. The story simply flows and is not one bit predictable but full of the most amazing twists and turns and woven together so beautifully, multiple times it simply took my breath away. And I learned whole new aspects of WW2 history I wasn't even aware of, history that occurred close to home! But it’s so much more than historical fiction… I have read every one of Elizabeth Musser’s books and highly, highly recommend them all. But this one…!!!!!!!!!!! (Btw it does stand alone and is not part of a series) As my body fights to return to health and this usually super active girl has to rest, can I just say it was an extra special gift from God that I was blessed with a net galley copy to read early! I am so thankful!!!

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