From the author of Still Me, a nod to the strong af women who ran a traveling library in 1930s rural Kentucky.
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Why I love it
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My mother was the first to introduce me to the wonder and escape to be found in books. As a young immigrant in a new country with four kids in tow, my mom found the beginnings of a new life for us in the dog-eared pages of books, and taught us to find adventure and intrigue, romance and wisdom in stories as well. These were the memories that beckoned me to the world of Jojo Moyes’s latest, The Giver of Stars.
At its heart, this novel is about all the many ways books can change lives. Based on a true story, Moyes weaves a poignant tale about the real women who brought the written word to the downtrodden and forgotten people of rural Kentucky during the Great Depression. Alice Wright is a newcomer to this landscape—a young Brit. She’s married to a handsome young American whose life in the South isn’t nearly as picturesque as he depicted while they were dating. Searching for friendship leads her to Eleanor Roosevelt’s traveling library, a public works project helmed by female volunteers who begin to transform the community by delivering books to neighbors near and far.
Both lyrical and poetic, this moving story is about the power that books can have to tear down the barriers of class and misogyny to bring purpose, joy, and a sense of belonging to a forlorn and forgotten rural community. It’s also a story about friendship and sacrifice, justice and compassion, and a compelling homage to books that is not to be missed.
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 Horseback Librarians of Kentucky.
What happens to them—and to the men they love—becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers, they’re committed to their job—bringing books to people who have never had any, sharing the gift of learning that will change their lives.
The Giver of Stars is also the November pick for Marie Claire’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC: a space for women who love books—by women!—and love talking about them, but prefer to do so from the comfort of their couch. Share your review of the book using the hashtag #ReadWithMC by November 28 for a chance to be featured on MarieClaire.com.
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It was both funny and terribly sad. I felt though that the sad parts had a redeeming outcome and I like books that get tied up neatly. Also the characters were relatable even though it was the 30's & I'veneverbeentoKentucky
Fort Collins, CO
Atmospheric—well-paced—power of books/knowledge—strong female friendships/community—horseback journeys—justice vs truth—believable romance—stranger in a strange land—strong dynamic characters—hist fic
Burbank , CA
I think the best part about this book are the friendships between the ladies of the library. There is romance but it doesn’t overpower the friendships and I think that’s what I love the most about it.
Love all of JoJo’s books. This one was a little slow to start but delivered all the usual emotions and character development + historical fiction that her other novels do! And Feminism to boot! ????????
This was a great read, even though I wasn't sure if I would like it after reading the first chapter. It did pick up and I found myself falling in love with the characters for their love of reading as well
After a kind of slow beginning, this story took off like a fire. It shows the power of women when they are positive & supportive to each other. I ♥️ learning about the WPA & the libraries of rural KY.
If I visit eastern Kentucky, I know exactly what I’ll see in the achingly beautiful hills. And I’ll expect Margery, Alice, Sophia, Izzy, Beth, & Kathleen to be there going about their very real lives.
Oak Lawn, IL
Loved this story and the amazing friendships between the women. I was also happy to learn that my 9 year old daughter read a short story called The Book Woman and we were able to share similarities❤️
Ocean City, NJ
Oh, how much did I love this book: 1) it’s about LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS 2) it quotes so many wonderful book classics 3) it’s about 6 strong (kick-ass) women 4) it’s about friendship and love
Easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. It’s a full, rich book about love, friendship, and yes, books! I savored this book over several days and was sad when I finished it. Highly recommend!
Big Bear City, CA
Another great historical fiction book that I couldn’t put down. This is a part of history I had never heard of. So many situations in the book are still relevant today! Great book club book selection!
This was the first book I’ve read of JoJo Moyes in the Historical Fiction genre. It was a beautiful, heart-warming novel. The grit of the women in this book is inspiring and the subject is intriguing
Fantastic character driven story about the pack horse library in the 1930’s. I enjoyed the strong female relationships and the reminder of how important it is to be supported by a community of women.
Deer Lode, MT
This is one of my top five favorite books I have ever read! At times it was hard to read, but other times I couldn’t put it down! I fell in love with this book the moment I picked it up! It was ❤️
Deltona , FL
I used to never feel drawn to historical fiction but I couldn’t put this book down. It really highlights how great friendships can change your life and how powerful women who uplift each other can be.
Learned a lot about a small group of women who prevailed against all odds to make better lives for themselves and the mountain people they lived amongst. I sure don’t complain about little things now.
Loved this! I’ll admit it was slow to start and took me a couple chapters to get invested but once I did, I couldn't put it down. I loved the strong female characters and bond. This book has it all!
I might be partial because it’s set in Kentucky, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Some characters were a bit predictable and stereotypical but I managed to love them just the same.
Columbus Junction , IA
I had tried getting into this book several times and just couldn’t. I hung in there this time, and I loved it. The characters are strong and interesting. I love that there were do many stories here.
Lewisville , TX
I loved this book. I was a bit apprehensive because my book club already read The Book Women of Troublesome Creek. But the relationships and social commentary was insightful. They weren’t so similar.