Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆


About the Book:


Set in Depression-era America, The Giver of Stars is 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.


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My Thoughts:


Author Jojo Moyes swept me away with her story of the pack-horse librarians in The Giver of Stars.  This predecessor to the bookmobile was inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt and the WPA to service rural areas during the Great Depression.  This book is set in the coal mining region of Kentucky.

Ms. Moyes created characters to care about and female friendships to love.  The main characters are each interesting and somewhat troubled, and together they bring out the best in one another.  I absolutely adored the characters and the development of their friendships.

The author provides evocative imagery of the landscape and lives in a rural area where life is hard-lived by all but the titans of industry. While not the main theme of the story, unionization, strip mining and the pitfalls of company towns are highlighted.

When trouble strikes, it strikes hard.  With each page it seems like each of the travelling librarians will be giving up something for their progressiveness.  The drama is gripping, and although the ending is what every reader will wish for, it is highly unlikely and a bit too prettily wrapped up.  Overall, a captivating read, and the audio book is smashingly narrated by Julia Whelan.



About the Author:  Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.  Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.



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