The Great Depression was a time of horrible deprivation, but it was also a time that called forth leaders who believed in working for the common good, trying to make people’s lives better. They were inventive and compassionate in their approach to problems, sometimes finding little things that grew into actions of great merit. One such imitative, spurred by President Franklin and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, was the traveling library. In this work of historic fiction, a group of women take part in running such a mobile library in Appalachia.
Alice was a bit of an embarrassment to her staid English family, too impetuous, a wild cannon. She is practically under house arrest to keep her from doing or saying anything controversial when fortune smiles on the family. Bennett Van Cleve and his father, wealthy miners from Kentucky, are traveling in England. Bennett is smitten with Alice; an English rose with beautiful skin and a posh accent. She jumps at the chance to escape as a new bride, not realizing she was trading one prison for another. Bennett’s Dad is even more controlling than her family.
When Mrs. Brady, the local organizer, asks for women to ride up into the hills with library books delivering them to people in remote cabins, Alice rebels and volunteers. Margery O’Hare, the head rider, is tough as nails, from a family of violent bootleggers, definitely not the woman her father in law wants contorting with his son’s bride. But there she is.
As the women start riding into the hills at first, they meet suspicion and hesitance, but then something wonderful happens. The people on their routes start looking forward to their arrival, keen to discover what new treasures those saddlebags hold.
The story takes the reader into the lives of the women, their friendship, commitment, and their ability to come together when they face their greatest challenge. Good story.— Deon Stonehouse
October 2019 Indie Next List
“In the late 1930s, the Works Progress Administration developed a number of projects intended to provide employment opportunities for unemployed artists, writers, and craftsmen. One of those projects was the Pack Horse Library Initiative, in which mounted horsewomen picked their way along snowy hillsides and through muddy creeks with a simple goal: to deliver reading material to Kentucky’s isolated mountain communities. In The Giver of Stars, Moyes has brought to life the amazing, funny, adventurous stories of a few of these trailblazing women. Historical fiction lovers will devour this story of a little-known piece of U.S. history.”
— Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC
A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK
“I’ve been a huge Jojo Moyes fan. Her characters are so compelling. . . It’s such a great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together.” –Reese Witherspoon
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
From the author of Me Before You, the perfect holiday gift for booklovers, set in Depression-era America, 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.
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!
About the Author
Jojo Moyes is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Giver of Stars, Still Me, After You, Me Before You, The Horse Dancer, Paris for One and Other Stories, One Plus One, The Girl You Left Behind, The Last Letter from Your Lover, Silver Bay, and The Ship of Brides. She lives with her husband and three children in Essex, England.
Praise for The Giver of Stars:
“A captivating tale of love, friendship, and self-actualization.”
“The Giver of Stars is a richly rewarding exploration of the depths of friendship, good men willing to stand up to bad and adult love. Moyes celebrates the power of reading in a terrific book that only reinforces that message.”
“Though she made her mark writing contemporary romance, Moyes proves just as adept at historical fiction. . . The Giver of Stars is a celebration of love, but also of reading, of knowledge, of female friendship, of the beauty of our most rural corners and our enduring American grit: the kind of true grit that can be found in the hills of Kentucky and on the pages of this inspiring book.”
—The Washington Post
“Moyes stays true to her narrative and takes full advantage of the sense of place she gained from repeated trips to the area . . . riveting. A stirring novel sure to please Moyes’ many fans.”
—Minnesota Star Tribune
“An epic journey of friendship, danger, and literacy. . . an ideal read.”
“With characters so real they feel like dear friends and a compelling storyline, this is a beautiful, special novel. I loved it and didn’t want it to end!”
—Liane Moriarty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies
“[A] dramatic, sweeping story. . . As well as creating wonderful strong characters, Jojo Moyes has an incredible eye for historical detail — I really felt as though I was riding over those Kentucky mountains with those women."
—Sophie Kinsella for Bustle
“Timeless, Jojo Moyes' greatest work yet, and one of the most exquisitely-written—and absolutely compulsory—novels about women ever told.”
—Lisa Taddeo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Three Women
“Epic in scope and fiercely feminist. . . an unforgettable story.”
“Compelling. . . It’s an epic feminist adventure that candidly paints a community’s soul-searching with great humor, heartache, honesty, and love.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“Inspired by the history of the actual Pack Horse Librarians, Moyes depicts the courage and resourcefulness of these women in loving detail. The Giver of Stars is a tribute not just to the brave women who brought the light of knowledge in dark times, but also to the rejuvenating bond of women’s friendship.”
—The Associated Press
“Moyes brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. . . the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. . . A love letter to the power of books and friendship.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“[A] homage to the power of reading and the strength of community. . . A must-read for women's fiction.”
“An adventure story grounded in female competence and mutual support, and an obvious affection for the popular literature of the early 20th century, give this Depression-era novel plenty of appeal. . . There’s plenty of drama, but the reader’s lasting impression is one of love.”
“Rich in history, with well-developed characters and a strong sense of place, this book will fit well in any library’s fiction collection. For fans of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants or Catherine Marshall’s Christy.”
—Library Journal (starred)