The Blurb (from Goodreads):
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.
I had read and loved JoJo Moyes’s previous historical novel, The Girl You Left Behind, so once I heard her new book was about Depression-era librarians who rode out on horseback, delivering books to poor people in the wild mountains of Kentucky, I knew I wanted to read it. It’s just such a wonderful premise for a novel!
The story follows a young English woman named Alice who marries a rich and handsome American, hoping to escape her stultifying life at home. However, she finds herself just as bored and restless in Kentucky as she was in the English countryside. Against her father-in-law’s wishes, she signs up to be a travelling librarian, and discovers new friends as well as new purpose. However, there are many dangers for young women riding out alone through the mountains, and Alice and her fellow librarians find themselves facing prejudice, injustice and violence.
Inspired by the true story of Eleanor Roosevelt’s travelling librarians, The Giver of Stars is a really gorgeous book, just brimming over with beauty and emotion. I loved it.