Review: The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes

 

Title: The Giver of Stars

Author: JoJo Moyes

Published: October 1st 2019, Michael Joseph

Status: Read October 2019, courtesy Penguin Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

“So, what the Sam Hill is a travelling library, anyway?”

The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes is historical fiction inspired by the remarkable women who worked for the WPA Packhorse Library in rural Kentucky from the mid 1930’s to the mid 1940’s. For around $28 a month, these travelling librarians rode into the Appalachian Mountain through difficult terrain and all types of weather delivering books to homes and schools.

“It’s women doing the riding. Delivering the books.’

‘Women?’

‘By themselves?’ came a man’s voice.

‘Last time I looked, God gave ’em two arms and two legs, just like the men.”

Moyes sets her novel in the fictional small mining town of Baileyville in southern Appalachia, where the newly founded Packhorse Library attracts a group of diverse women into its employ. Though nominally headed by Mrs. Brady, it’s Margery O’Hare, a fiercely independent Mountain woman who takes charge of the library. She is joined by Alice Van Cleeve, the new English bride of the mine owner’s son, who is regretting the whirlwind courtship that brought her half way across the world, Beth, the daughter of a local farmer, who dreams of one day escaping Kentucky, Mrs. Brady’s reluctant daughter, Izzy, new widow Kathleen, and Sophia, a young black woman who becomes the library’s clerk.

“I believe sending young women out by themselves is a recipe for disaster. And I can see nothing but the foment of ungodly thoughts and bad behaviour from this ill-conceived idea”

Moyes portrays the community and its residents in a believable manner, highlighting the hard scrabble life of its poorest, and the arrogance of its richest. She explores common prejudices of the era, especially against women, and the environmental and social impact of unregulated mining, but most importantly the author shows how access to books and reading can change the lives of people for the better.

“The Baileyville WPA packhorse librarians were a team, yes, and a team stuck together.”

Of course, the focus of The Giver of Stars is really on the women of the Packhorse Library, the trials they face, and the friendship, support, and strength they offer one another. The characters are well developed, each strong, admirable women who earn the gratitude and trust of those they serve as they often go above and beyond their job description.

“She loved it here. She loved the mountains and the people and the never-ending sky. She loved feeling as if she was doing a job that meant something, testing herself each day, changing people’s lives word by word.”

A captivating story of friendship, love, identity, and justice, The Giver of Stars is a wonderful read.

++++++

Read an Extract

Available from Penguin Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Via Indiebound I Book Depository

Also by JoJo Moyes reviewed at Book’d Out 

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Theresa Smith Writes
    Nov 07, 2019 @ 13:31:40

    I’m glad you liked this. I thought it was great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Kathryn
    Nov 07, 2019 @ 14:59:00

    Totally agree was a wonderful read and the audio version held me all the way through.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Lisa
    Nov 08, 2019 @ 11:28:51

    I’m happy to read your review! I’ve been curious about this book, but hesitant about reading it since I read a different book about the pack horse librarians earlier this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  5. Jan
    Nov 13, 2019 @ 01:46:31

    I haven’t read any books by Jojo Moyes yet, but I have this book on reserve at my library and should be getting it soon. It sounds so good. And I’m glad you loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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