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The Giver of Stars: A Novel, by Jojo Moyes

September 2, 2019

The Giver of StarsThe Giver of Stars: A Novel, by Jojo Moyes.  Penguin, 2019.

FORTHCOMING, October 8, 2019.

4 stars

An enjoyable, fast-paced novel set in the mountains of eastern Kentucky in the 1930s where four women librarians deliver books to isolated mountain families and get caught up in crises and loves.

JoJo Moyers is an English author and journalist, born in 1969. After a variety of jobs, she began writing popular novels, often including romance themes.  This is her twelveth novel.

In The Giver of Stars, Alice, a bored, restricted young English woman, excitedly accompanies her handsome new husband to the Kentucky hills where his father owns a coal mine.  Once she gets there, she is deeply disappointed with him, with his father with whom they live, and with their village.  Then she takes a job delivering library books to the people in the mountains surrounding the town.  Despite opposition from some of the respectable people in the town, she comes to love the mountains, the people, and the job.  She also becomes close friends with the other three “pack horse” librarians as they face floods, angry coal men, and even murder charges.  And in the process, Alice and one of the other women become involved in romances with local men.

The book is based loosely on the actual project in Kentucky in the 1930s where the WPA hired women to deliver library books to mountain families. The  actual traveling librarians were challenging the gender roles proscribed by the ladies of the village, and much of the criticism of them centered around what it was proper for women to do.  In response, the librarians display both their strength and their womanliness.  Racial conservatism was also challenged but less successfully, but less realistically.

One could quibble with whether or not the novel is historically correct or whether its characters’ actions seem believable.  Yet Moyers is an excellent storyteller and such questions hardly seem relevant.  The book is fun to read and sometimes that is enough.

I recommend The Giver of Stars to anyone seeking a pleasant reading experience.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 3, 2019 11:54 am

    I just skimmed your review, because I really want to read this one!

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