January is always one of my favorite months for book club. I honestly just love this time of year to snuggle up on the couch and read a good book. And this month’s book was absolutely one of the favorites that I’ve read in a long time. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes was a fantastic read and I did not want it to end.
This month we went for a completely laid back night at a local brewery and munched on some delicious pizza as we discussed this month’s great read.
“Time flew, and each ended the night full and happy, with the rare glow that comes from knowing your very being has been understood by somebody else, and that there might just be someone out there who will only ever see the best in you.”
― Jojo Moyes, The Giver of Stars
The Publisher’s Synopsis…
Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You.
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.
What I Thought…
First, let me just say that I absolutely loved this book. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction and a novel about women becoming horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky is right up my alley. The story is so intriguing and takes us through the challenges that these women face with men, the weather, and the hard Kentucky landscape.
The novel starts as our main character, Alice, marries attractive American Bennett Van Cleve thinking that this would be her ticket out of a stifling life in England. Alice and Bennett soon settle in Baileyville, Kentucky. Alice realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at and belittled by her unpleasant father-in-law, who owns a coal mine. She is just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback library. The traveling horseback library is an initiative started by Eleanor Roosevelt. It is meant to focus on literacy and learning in the rural areas of the country which are rampant due to the Depression. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library’s leader, Margery.
Margery is a character that doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She rejects marriage and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. Even though Margery a town pariah, due to the history of her less than savory father, Alice quickly grows to like her. The library soon includes several other women (including a black woman named Sophia, who causes lots of controversies) who supply magazines, textbooks, and novels to poor residents who live in remote areas.
As Alice and Bennet’s marriage is failing, Alice learns to love her job as a horseback librarian and soon finds happiness. But her powerful father-in-law doesn’t care for Alice’s job or Margery’s lifestyle, and he’ll stop at nothing to shut their library down, including making trouble for Margery. The story takes us through the romances for Alice and Margery, but the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. All coming from different backgrounds they soon build a bond and a commitment to helping the people of Baileyville which brings them together.
This book is definitely a love letter to the power of books and friendship that we all wish to have. I would definitely recommend this book and can’t wait to read others like it.
Next Month’s Selection…
A Few Other Titles I’ve Enjoyed This Month…
So what are you reading this month?? I would love to hear, I’m always on the lookout for my next favorite read.
(This post contains affiliate links, meaning that at no extra cost to you I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. To read LouLouSucre’s full disclosure policy please click here.)