The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars

Book - 2019
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Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve and leaves behind her stifling life in England for a new adventure in Kentucky. When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt's new travelling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, Margery, and Alice will be joined by three diverse women and become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. What happens to these women - and to the men they love - becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion.
Publisher: [New York] : Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, ©2019.
ISBN: 9780399562488
Characteristics: 390 pages ;,25 cm.

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Bookworm1136
Apr 05, 2020

4 1/2-5 star read. JoJo Moyes writes great novels and this is one of her best. It's a departure from her previous books but was a really interesting book. Alice is an English girl who married a wealthy American in a whirlwind romance. Taken to rural Kentucky where her father-in-law owns a mine, she is lost and despairing as her husband rejects her and her father-in-law makes her life unbearable. She decides to join the women of the packhorse library and finds some meaning in her life. When something terrible happens, she leaves her home and husband and moves in with a friend from the library. Her father-in-law becomes vengeful. The book is not only informative about a piece of history but also what it was like for women in rural areas like the mountains of Kentucky and how brutal their life was. But it introduces us to some really wonderful women who I enjoyed getting to know as I read this book. Another wonderful Moyes book.

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squirrelee
Apr 02, 2020

Five stars all the way! I absolutely loved this book and all the characters!! So good, I didn't want it to end.

Absolutely delightful. I chose this book from a list of suggested book club titles. I highly recommend the audiobook version, as the narrator does a fantastic job with the pacing and voices. The characters and plot reminded me of books like Fried Green Tomatoes, The Color Purple, How to Make an American Quilt, or even Steel Magnolias. Recommended for fans of historical fiction, strong female characters, and anybody who loves their library!

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DT_kcls
Mar 24, 2020

After the first three books I read by Jojo Moyes, 'Me Before You', 'After You', 'Still Me', I wasn't convinced I'd read another, not because of her writing but more because I felt, and still feel, she was rather cheer leading a concept I find utterly loathsome.

I gave her another try with 'The Horse Dancer', and, as with 'The Giver of Stars', I am so glad I did.

'The Giver of Stars', based on "The WPA's Packhouse Librarians of Kentucky", is gritty and honest in emotion. The women find their strength in the support they receive from each other and from the gratefulness of the simple gift of books to folks whose only goal is trying to survive.

Those brave ladies, unbeknownst to themselves, were true early "feminists", forging their way, helping folks that others wouldn't, moving and acting quietly but determinedly to achieve their goals in the face of dire conditions, the condemnation of the controlling men and norms in their small part of the world. I find it a quite a pronounced and sad counterpoint to the self-proclaimed feminists of today who seem to only stand up for other women whose ideological stance mirrors their own, who scorn those whose doesn't, whose sole objective has become promoting a single cause, often loudly and vulgarly, with which most disagree.

I expected some of the outcomes of 'The Giver of Stars' but was surprised by how they came about. There are parts that will bring you to tears and others you will cheer loudly.

'The Giver of Stars' is a wonderful book. Savor every moment of it, even the horrible reality of those people in that time. You will not be disappointed. And, how could you not be excited about the love of books and libraries?

5 Stars

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tammygfarmgirl
Mar 09, 2020

I loved this book SO much! A second book about the pack horse librarians! And every bit as good. I loved Alice, the young woman from England, but I loved Margery even more. I stayed up way too late reading this marvelous story.

VaughanPLKim Mar 07, 2020

Before reading this book, I was not familiar with the Kentucky packhorse librarians. I enjoyed learning more about this part of history, as well as the friendships that formed between the librarians despite their quite different backgrounds. Since the book's publication, there have been accusations that it bears too many similarities to "The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek" by Kim Michele Richardson, though the publisher stands by the work. Readers are encouraged to read both novels.

ontherideau Mar 06, 2020

"You know what the worst thing about a man hitting you?" "Ain't the hurt. It's in that instant you realize the truth of what it is to be a woman. That it don't matter how smart you are, how much better at arguing, how much better than them period. It's when you can realize they can always shut you up with a fist. Just like that." Ninety years later this is still a reality for many women.
Giver is of Stars is eerily reminiscent of gun culture in the USA today, the dependence and the power.
Gratitude to the Roosevelts who pushed library programs to educate and enlighten.

JCLHeatherM Mar 05, 2020

'Giver of Stars' is very well-written in terms of characterization of the six librarian pioneers who tended to to the literary (and often otherwise) needs of the rural folk. There's great instances of female friendship, and two beautiful love stories included to warm the heart. The ending proved satisfying for all characters involved (save for the villain), which is always a nice perk.

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furlan
Mar 05, 2020

The story and characters were interesting but I felt the ending was contrived and not up to the quality of the rest of the book.

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writermala
Feb 23, 2020

A book about depression era America did not appeal to me but when I saw it was by my favorite author Jo Jo Moyes I decided to give it a try. I really liked it as the women in it were very strong and stood up for themselves.Yet, the reality of the era was that men hit women, making the powerful Margery say, "You know what the worst thing about a man hitting you?" "Ain't the hurt. It's in that instant you realize the truth of what it is to be a woman. That it don't matter how smart you are, how much better at arguing, how much better than them period. It's when you can realize they can always shut you up with a fist. Just like that." That is what Alice had to realize too but the book proceeds with a library giving women a raison d'etre and the ending justified my reading the 387 pages.

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wwolf
Feb 14, 2020

"Look outwards, Alice," Margery would say, her voice carrying on the breeze. "Not much point worrying what the town thinks about you--nothing you can do about that anyway. But when you look outwards, why, there's a whole world of beautiful things."

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