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Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge (Book 1)

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Welcome to Moonlight Ridge, a magical, musical place overlooking a small town named Eden. Here you'll meet a pair of intrepid eight-year-old cousins, Lily Claire and Willie T., and their multi-ethnic family in the backwoods of Alabama.This is a story about family and community ties, loyalty and faith, and a very unusual map used by two flamboyant children to solve a myster Welcome to Moonlight Ridge, a magical, musical place overlooking a small town named Eden. Here you'll meet a pair of intrepid eight-year-old cousins, Lily Claire and Willie T., and their multi-ethnic family in the backwoods of Alabama.This is a story about family and community ties, loyalty and faith, and a very unusual map used by two flamboyant children to solve a mystery "out on the mountain." This is a Southern story filled with humor, mystery, surprises, and a touch of the supernatural, in the 1950s backwoods of Alabama. First published in 2010 by Chalet Publishers LLC, now published as Book One of The Moonlight Ridge Series.


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Welcome to Moonlight Ridge, a magical, musical place overlooking a small town named Eden. Here you'll meet a pair of intrepid eight-year-old cousins, Lily Claire and Willie T., and their multi-ethnic family in the backwoods of Alabama.This is a story about family and community ties, loyalty and faith, and a very unusual map used by two flamboyant children to solve a myster Welcome to Moonlight Ridge, a magical, musical place overlooking a small town named Eden. Here you'll meet a pair of intrepid eight-year-old cousins, Lily Claire and Willie T., and their multi-ethnic family in the backwoods of Alabama.This is a story about family and community ties, loyalty and faith, and a very unusual map used by two flamboyant children to solve a mystery "out on the mountain." This is a Southern story filled with humor, mystery, surprises, and a touch of the supernatural, in the 1950s backwoods of Alabama. First published in 2010 by Chalet Publishers LLC, now published as Book One of The Moonlight Ridge Series.

30 review for Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge (Book 1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Smoky Zeidel

    Rarely does a book come along that is so magical, so mystical, it transports the reader as if on a magic carpet to a different place and time. Ramey Channel’s Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge does exactly this, and does it by the end of the first chapter. This is the story of Lily Claire and Willie T., eight-year-old cousins born on the same day, and their extended family. They are the best of friends, and Moonlight Ridge in the small, rural town of Eden, Alabama, is both their home and their playg Rarely does a book come along that is so magical, so mystical, it transports the reader as if on a magic carpet to a different place and time. Ramey Channel’s Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge does exactly this, and does it by the end of the first chapter. This is the story of Lily Claire and Willie T., eight-year-old cousins born on the same day, and their extended family. They are the best of friends, and Moonlight Ridge in the small, rural town of Eden, Alabama, is both their home and their playground. We are with them in their third-grade classroom, learning to draw beautiful birds and studying heroes with their beloved teacher, Miss Althea Bib Tweedy. “I think we were lucky to have been in her room, since she was just about the best third grade teacher in the whole world, even if everybody in Eden said that she had lost all her marbles,” Lily Claire swears. We are behind the shed with them, catching doodle bugs. We are with them at the house of their neighbors, Cowboy and Estaleen, tip-toeing into the bedroom to take a look at the map on baby Junior’s tongue, a map they are certain is the key to finding treasure. We follow them through their carefree days of being children in the deep rural South, seeing what they see, smelling what they smell, doing what they do. For a few blissful, short chapters, we are eight-year-old children again ourselves. This is also the story of Willie T. and Lily Claire’s extended multi-ethnic family, including cousins Harold Hope Nash, who works on the railroad, and his twin brother Henry Hope Nash, who, although a grown man, has the mind of a child; and of Mr. Studebaker Freeman, a medical school drop-out who comes back from war a changed man and who carries a magic wand with him wherever he goes. Studebaker Freeman also happens to be a black man living in a small Southern town during a time when color alone could brand an innocent man guilty. Willie T. and Lily Claire’s idyllic summer days screech to a halt when a series of disasters strike the people around them. When baby Junior goes missing, Studebaker Freeman is thrown in jail for kidnapping. The two intrepid eight-year-olds set out to find Junior and free their wrongly accused friend. What happens next is both frightening and magical, and changes their lives forever as they learn the true meaning of being a hero. In writing Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, Channell segues from humor to seriousness so masterfully that, in looking back, I’m not quite sure where the transition occurred. In the first chapter, we meet Lily Claire’s great-granddaddy W.T. Greenberry, who fancies himself a naturalist. Great-granddaddy W.T. collects bugs and absolutely dotes on possums. When great-grandmother Augusta Greenberry finds too many possums in the house, she sets the hounds on them, and the chase through the house that follows is the funniest piece of fiction I’ve ever read. (And which, I might add, on the night I started reading the book, caused me to wake my sleeping husband, I was laughing so hard, making me realize this is not the book to read when your mate is asleep beside you.) Some of the character names Channell comes up with are priceless: the pastor of the Baptist Church is named Brother Goforth. (Fortunately, I read this the the following morning, and both my husband and I were wide awake, so my laughter merely interrupted his guitar practice instead of his sleep.) And while humor remains part of book throughout all its eleven chapters, by Chapter 5, aptly titled “Bad News,” the book takes on a much more serious tone. The book is short, more a novella than a novel. Channell’s prose is sparse; every word of this book is there for a reason. Here, the reason is to give the reader a sense of place: “The woods around our house on Moonlight Ridge had always seemed full of magical secrets and possibilities,” she writes. “There were old trails and paths as ancient as the mountain itself. Willie T. and I roamed and tromped in the very same places that our Great-Granddaddy W.T. had explored, way back before we were even born, and every summer we’d make new discoveries and claim new areas as our own territory.” The final chapters put tears in my eyes, they unfolded so beautifully. No spoilers here—I cannot so much as give you an excerpt, lest I give away what happens. But suffice it to say, by the last line of the book, both Lily Claire and Willie T. have learned life-long lessons about love, loyalty, faith, and what it is to be a hero. Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge is a book to be savored, not devoured. It is a sweet Southern peach to be enjoyed on a hot summer day and not something to be rushed through, despite its short length, for to do so would mean missing out on the magic that is to be felt, not simply witnessed. This gem of a book is one I will read again and again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    Perhaps it was fate, but cousins Lily Claire and Willie T. were born the very same instant just after their mothers Sara Onselle Nash and Rachel Bodicea Nock got into a fight about something or other and just about trashed their shared hospital room. After that, Lily Claire and Willie T. couldn't help but be inseparable friends and playmates throughout the old roads and backwoods of Moonlight Ridge near Eden, Alabama during a long-ago time when skinned knees, grubby hands and natural music were Perhaps it was fate, but cousins Lily Claire and Willie T. were born the very same instant just after their mothers Sara Onselle Nash and Rachel Bodicea Nock got into a fight about something or other and just about trashed their shared hospital room. After that, Lily Claire and Willie T. couldn't help but be inseparable friends and playmates throughout the old roads and backwoods of Moonlight Ridge near Eden, Alabama during a long-ago time when skinned knees, grubby hands and natural music were more prevalent than they are today. Protagonist Lily Claire relates that Willy T. "was the meanest little booger you'd ever want to see. In the early years, before we started to school, we fought about as much as we played. And then it got so that, for the most part, we couldn't tell the difference between fighting and playing." There's a lot of laughter in "Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge." Author Ramey Channell has filled her charming story with a boocoos (that's a Southern word meaning "a lot") of well-drawn, quasi-eccentric mountain people. When they come together, they're just naturally funny even though that's not always their intention. They're good people, too, and no-nonsence pragmatic, the kind it would be a pleasure to know. In the novel's introduction, Channell says that even though she's not Lily Claire, she used to be a lot like her. Channell grew up on a mountain like Moonlight ridge, one that "seemed like a mystical place then." Channell has a good memory, and she writes in the kind of lyrical prose that comes from a writer with an ear for the language of the place where her characters are coming to life on the page. Moonlight Ridge is filled with magic and mystery. As it turns out, Lily Claire and Willy T. have a better handle on what's what in the magic and mystery department than the adults. After this charming story comes to an end, readers will discover a handy glossary that defines words like "boocoos" and "Arby-vida." There are some recipes, too, for those who can't wait to try Granny's Persimmon Cookies, Cabbage Chow-Chow or barbecued ribs with Sam Nash's "Secret" sauce. While one expects a talented storyteller like Ramey Channell to spin a fine backwoodsy yarn, finding food at the end of the tale is a bonus. As Lily Claire says about almost every wise revelation, "I guess it just goes to show you."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge by Ramey Channell is an enchanting story set in rural Alabama when times were simple and children spent their days discovering the world around them. The eccentric relatives and neighbors of cousins, Lily Claire and Willy T. are both humorous and charming. Readers are easily drawn into their world and eager to find out how their lives turn out. Ramey Chanell is a creative storyteller and has an incredible ability to bring her story to life. I believe I read the enti Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge by Ramey Channell is an enchanting story set in rural Alabama when times were simple and children spent their days discovering the world around them. The eccentric relatives and neighbors of cousins, Lily Claire and Willy T. are both humorous and charming. Readers are easily drawn into their world and eager to find out how their lives turn out. Ramey Chanell is a creative storyteller and has an incredible ability to bring her story to life. I believe I read the entire story with a southern drawl! Join Lily Claire and Willy T. as they help others, face trials, and learn what it means to be family. It's an adventure you won't want to miss.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carole Miller

    A wonderful first book by the author. It is a look at the South in the 50's, and every word rings true. Can't wait for the next book by this author! A wonderful first book by the author. It is a look at the South in the 50's, and every word rings true. Can't wait for the next book by this author!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Leader

    I enjoyed reading this wonderful story and might have finished it in one day, had I been left undisturbed! It is a magical tale involving eight-year-old cousins Lily Claire and Willie T. who were born in the same place, on the same day, at the same time! The cousins are growing up together in the mountain forests surrounding the sweet little town of Eden, Alabama. You might think life would be boring in such an idyllic setting, but there are all kinds of surprising magical occurrences, places to I enjoyed reading this wonderful story and might have finished it in one day, had I been left undisturbed! It is a magical tale involving eight-year-old cousins Lily Claire and Willie T. who were born in the same place, on the same day, at the same time! The cousins are growing up together in the mountain forests surrounding the sweet little town of Eden, Alabama. You might think life would be boring in such an idyllic setting, but there are all kinds of surprising magical occurrences, places to be explored, and mysteries to be solved! The cousins' relatives are interesting characters, as are their neighbors. There's a bit of country wisdom, recipes, and Southern dialect. All in all, an enchanting, enjoyable read!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mel Mathews

    buona fortuna: Alabama Mountain Magical Realism What a fabulous tale! The weekend was covered with a hefty to-do list, then I opened up Ramey Channell’s Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge and everything else fell away. The woods around Moonlight Ridge are filled with magical secrets and possibilities and eight-year-old Lily Claire Nash and her cousin Willie T (both born on the very same day and at the very same time) are full of adventure. Told from the point of view of Lily, Ramey Channell weaves mag buona fortuna: Alabama Mountain Magical Realism What a fabulous tale! The weekend was covered with a hefty to-do list, then I opened up Ramey Channell’s Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge and everything else fell away. The woods around Moonlight Ridge are filled with magical secrets and possibilities and eight-year-old Lily Claire Nash and her cousin Willie T (both born on the very same day and at the very same time) are full of adventure. Told from the point of view of Lily, Ramey Channell weaves magical realism so well into this clever novella that one would consider these mysteries as common everyday occurrences. For example: a mama possum with a bunch of baby possums hanging onto her back waddles through the crowd at a graveside funeral service—the baby possums singing a cantata to the dearly departed. And then there are the spots on a baby boy’s tongue that soon turns into Lily and Willie T’s sketched hidden treasure map. And that’s just the beginning—wait till they find the treasure! Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge is good clean fun, even if Lily Claire and Willie T break rules and are occasionally skinned up and tossed about by the elements. Ramey Channell is a gifted writer and masterful storyteller. Undoubtedly, she has tapped into her source and been filled with a magical spirit of her own—or perhaps, like Lily Claire Nash, she was born with it. Highly recommended for adults, children, and public library collections.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lana Reigart

    This is a deceptively simple story of cousins, Lily Claire and Willie T. Set in a small Alabama town, that could be any town, at a time when children had a freedom mostly unheard of today, it has the ability to transport the reader back in time. Families were important and mostly stayed together. Children were allowed to run around without constant supervision and their imaginations run free. When they got into scrapes, they had to get themselves out. Ms. Channel's language speaks to this time wi This is a deceptively simple story of cousins, Lily Claire and Willie T. Set in a small Alabama town, that could be any town, at a time when children had a freedom mostly unheard of today, it has the ability to transport the reader back in time. Families were important and mostly stayed together. Children were allowed to run around without constant supervision and their imaginations run free. When they got into scrapes, they had to get themselves out. Ms. Channel's language speaks to this time with simpleness and clarity that sent me straight back to my own childhood with sweet nostalgia. You should go there too.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Greta is Erikasbuddy

    A splendid tale of 2 children and their life up on the mountain that is simply Alabama. My librarian wrote this!! Show her some love and read it :)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Hudson

    In Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, Ramey Channell has painted a picture of simpler times when families lived close together and helped each other out, children were free to play and spark their imaginations without close adult supervision, and communities came together during hard times. Lily Claire lives in the small town of Eden, Alabama where she spends most of her time with her cousin, Willie T. The two of them were born on the same day and they like to have adventures together. The two have In Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge, Ramey Channell has painted a picture of simpler times when families lived close together and helped each other out, children were free to play and spark their imaginations without close adult supervision, and communities came together during hard times. Lily Claire lives in the small town of Eden, Alabama where she spends most of her time with her cousin, Willie T. The two of them were born on the same day and they like to have adventures together. The two have an extended family of eccentric characters, including a “great-granddaddy” who kept possums in the house and a Cajun “Paw Paw” who could play the fiddle. The stories of the two children playing games together can be funny, while other stories of dealing with family loss and helping find a missing baby are touching and sweet. Dialogue will have you hearing a southern twang in your head as you read along. There’s a touch of mystery and magic in the air on Moonlight Ridge, and Channell has worked her own magic in creating this new series for young readers. (Note: there are a few swear words in the beginning of the book, but other than that nothing is inappropriate for readers starting at age 9). The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    Foodfic musing - not a traditional review: http://bookfare.blogspot.com/2011/09/... Foodfic musing - not a traditional review: http://bookfare.blogspot.com/2011/09/...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ramey Channell

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joann

  13. 5 out of 5

    Janet Shields

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Mccarthy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim Lawrence

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth Sorensen

  18. 4 out of 5

    ADRIENE

  19. 5 out of 5

    North Shelby Library BookClub

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marion Jones

  21. 4 out of 5

    Staci

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anita

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fay

  25. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Compton

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan Cleveland

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nell Richardson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Annette

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hope

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hope Hardwick Cook

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