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Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged women to become horse librarians in rural areas where people could not reach actual libraries. This WPA Pack Horse Librarian program ran from 1935 to 1943 as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The Giver of Stars recounts the struggle of achieving trust for these women in rural, mountainous Kentucky. The five women who run this mobile library form a lasting friendship amid a cruel world. JoJo Moyes displays the poverty during the Depression, the perils of a marriage, the horrors of a mining town, and the power of a tight-knit community. The women in this story strive to have reading and learning available to everyone but face many obstacles. What a contrast to the 21st century.
What a wonderful book! I can't believe that it has taken me this long to read it! The characters are well written and the description of the town of Baileyville and the surrounding countryside of Kentucky are breathtaking. Moyes captures the tensions of the time with the emergence of women and coloured rights as well as intertwining a romance to the story, showing that love really can conquer all. I cried, I laughed and I sighed. My favourite line was on the first page - "...That Mack McGuire, he makes my heart flutter like a clean sheet on a long line." Do't put it off, read it now!
This is another precious book by Jojo Moyes. It recounts the packhorse librarians in rural Kentucky during the Great Depression. Filled with memorable characters in an unforgettable setting. Highly recommended.
This novel is written by a romance story author and hence is very predictable. Nevertheless, the story of female friendship and the pack horse librarians is worthwhile.
I thought it would be a very light, happy-go-lucky, interesting read about all the good work the Depression era packhorse librarians did for their Kentucky community, which the book certainly accomplished, but this book is really much, much more than that. It's a story of an English woman and Kentucky women from all kinds of backgrounds ---- their lives, triumphs, hardships and overcoming them. I really applaud the author for creating a fascinating group of female characters of whom I truly grew fond, especially the main characters Alice and Margery. These women's task of bringing books to their community changes each one in individual ways, giving them a purpose, compass, strength and grit. The book does go into some dark areas of life which surprised me but also kept me turning the pages to find out how things would turn out for them. The reader will thus get a big of punch of reality as the book is not a sunny walk down a flowered path. Yet it is one of the best stories I have read all year. Absolutely brilliant story telling and worth reading. This book exceeded all my expectations.
This was a fascinating story set during Kentucky’s time of Pack Horse librarians. I enjoyed getting to know each of the librarians and quickly became invested in their lives as they started the traveling library, warmed up members of their community to the idea of the library with each visit, and became like family to each other. This might be a re-read for me!
I enjoyed this book though it drug a little in the beginning. I especially love how strong the main character became in her life, and was amused at the characters she met along the way. Totally fun read. Definitely recommend.
I give 4 1/2 stars to THE GIVER OF STARS, an excellent work of historic fiction. Author Jojo Moyes captures the sights, sounds, and feel of Depression-era Kentucky, particularly the attitudes and social mores of the time. Six incredible women are at the heart of the story. As members of the Pack Horse Librarians, a real-life WPA (Works Progress Administration) project, they face multiple challenges, including class, racism, misogyny, and abuse. These characters are well-drawn, with distinct personalities, and over the course of the novel, I came to care about each of them. Their stories are told against the beautiful backdrop of the rural Kentucky mountains. This poignant drama of friendship, injustice, mystery, and romance is sure to become a classic.
This is a beautifully written story with characters that are developed in such a way that you can lose yourself in this wonderful story. I loved this book. One of the top books I read in 2020 - and I read a lot like most of us! Kind of reminded me of the writing in Where the Crawdads Sing. I am now exploring her other books and finding much the same wonderful stories and character development. What an amazing find to stumble over at the Alpine Library!
One of the best books I've read in a long time. I cried a bunch so you know it's a good read. Highly recommend!
This was an interesting book and informative regarding the Packhorse Library in Kentucky. It had great character development and a solid plot; however, it tends to run long, and about 3/4 of the way through, I was wishing for a conclusion.
Well-researched book about the women packhorse librarians of Kentucky in the 1930's, part of Eleanor Roosevelt's new traveling library. The novel focuses on the relationships of these women librarians in the small town of Baileyville, and that's really what makes this story so readable - each woman has her own personality and capabilities, and there is a strong sense of loyalty among them. I easily became involved in each woman's personal story, especially the two main characters Alice and Margery. The novel presents the limitations of women's roles during this time, especially in a small southern mining town, and then the plot develops to show how the women overcome many of these limitations.
Themes of power, trust, growth, friendship, and standing up for what is right are woven into the compelling plot, and the reader will be rewarded with a satisfying story as love and justice prevails.
An historical fiction/romance with a great premise and interesting setting. Characters were not complex and largely predictable against the melodramatic action. Overall a non-challenging, light, and enjoyable read.
Took me a little while to get into it, but then it grabbed me and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. Very well written and about a place and time I knew little about.
It takes more than lost love to deter a fierce-spirited English wife in a Kentucky town to forget herself. As part of a traveling horse-back librarians, Alice befriends "dangerous" women, who accept Alice for who she is. A distant husband, volatile father-in-law and flood are just a few obstacles Alice faces. Moyes beautifully captures the story of a woman who finds her true spirit out in the barren hills of Kentucky.
I really enjoyed this book. It is the story of a start-up library in rural Kentucky. The librarians are all female and ride horses into the mountains to deliver books to those who rarely come to town. Most of the characters are likable and the dialog rang true. My only issue is that Bennett, Alice's husband, was not fleshed out enough. I never understood his motivation for marrying her in the first place but other than that, I thought it was a good read.
A phenomenal historical fiction that I highly recommend! Jojo Moyes writes so beautifully and the characters are so engaging!
Had never read Moyes before. A little romancey, but surprisingly interesting, good
I imagine listening to the audiobook made this more enjoyable for me than if I'd read this. It was more a romance than historical fiction, and I'm not a big romance fan. It was interesting, but had some "too good to be true" characters that made me roll my eyes.
This was a very enjoyable read. Not extraordinary but a good story. The plot was predictable and tied up neatly and quickly by the last sentence. The characters were pretty well drawn and a bit above a typical romance novel.
I don't usually read romances, but I enjoyed The Giver of Stars. It had interesting history in it and I enjoyed that the setting is one I don't know much about. I never knew about the pack horse library initiative and the book really shows what a benefit it was to that area. The story and characters were also engaging and you really start rooting for them once you see that challenges they face.
One of the best books that I've read in a long time. As I read it, I was oblivious to all else. I just love her books!
Love this book! "harpreads" review (scroll down to July 9) says it very well. A subject I knew nothing about, strong women friendships, and triumph over adversity are a few reasons why this is a wonderful read!
I enjoyed this book BUT. (1) poorly edited. Eucalyptus trees in northern Kentucky? don't think so.... (2) much more seriously, there are some strong indications that this book was heavily plagiarized from another author, less well known and using a publishing company that is related to Pamela Dorman Books - Viking. Look it up on the internet. I am very disappointed in this author. Kinda wondered how a woman from suburban London knew so much about Kentucky history. well.............