Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Historical fiction
Length: 400 pages
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You and The Peacock Emporium.
Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.
The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the WPA Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.
What happens to them—and to the men they love—becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.
Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic—a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.
After Me Before You, I went on a Moyes reading binge and went through a few more books of hers (and loved them all). But it’s been a few years, and wow, I’m so glad I remedied this situation because I loooooooved this book.
The strength of the women in this story was what captivated me most. I had no desire to put this book down because I was that invested in their stories. Alice and Margery, Izzy, Beth, Sophie, the strong bonds of friendship they had is one of a kind. Margery and Alice, especially, were my favorites. I adored their unconventional companionship and how they each had a time when they had to lean on another. Made me want to give everyone a hug too.
Time flew, and each ended the night full and happy, with the rare glow that comes from knowing your very being has been understood by somebody else, and that there might just be someone out there who will only ever see the best in you.
I thought the romances were perfectly woven in here. They didn’t overshadow the story at large but brought another level to this already amazing book. Alice and Fred were just precious and it was so sweet and tender watching what happened between them. And Sven and Margery? YES PLEASE. Sven was the best match with Margery and they played off of each other so well. These men (as side characters) were fantastic on their own.
If my memory serves me, this is one of the few times I’ve read a book about books. AND I LOVED IT. The power of the written word and the library system. It was amazing to think about when libraries really started to become a *thing* and how hard that must have been to convince others that it was worth their time. I think I’m going to have to go read some more Moyes books because her beautiful writing has yet again stunned me.
Overall audience notes:
- Historical fiction [Setting: Kentucky, 1937]
- Language: very little
- Romance: kisses, love scenes where you know what happened, but no details (essentially clean)
- Violence: physical, flooding, guns
- Trigger warnings: animal cruelty, domestic abuse, racism, incest