Title: The Giver of Stars
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 390 pages
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Source: Book of the Month
Content: domestic violence
From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.
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 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.
What a beautiful book about female friendship and women supporting women against the patriarchy in the rural South during the Great Depression. I grew to care so deeply for these women as they found friendship and independence as packhorse librarians. I came close to tears a few times at the injustices and prejudices these women faced, at how easy it was to rile up a small, backwater town and turn decent people against one another.
Alice’s outsider status and naivety created the perfect avenue to ease readers into the harsh setting. Margery was also a phenomenal character. The build up was a bit slow, but there were so many genuine, heartfelt moments throughout the book. I appreciated the strength and bravery of these women who wanted to live life by their own rules in a time when that was unheard of. This is the kind of story you want to savor and take your time with.