The Giver of Stars: A Novel

The Giver of Stars: A Novel
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Year: 2019
ASIN: 0399562486
ISBN: 0399562486

In a small Appalachian town in Kentucky, five women have committed to join the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky, an initiative spearheaded by Eleanor Roosevelt to bring books to isolated families. One of these women, Alice, has struggled to find her footing in the insular town after moving from England to marry her her coal-baron husband, Bennett.  Through the library, Alice finds friendship with the women, independence in mountains, and camaraderie with the families who love the stories they bring each week.

But a little education can be threatening to those in power, and the women soon find themselves the target of several campaigns to bring them down. The Giver of Stars brought together so many elements I love--books, before-their-time feminists, and quirky characters--and I enjoyed both the story and the history that I knew nothing about.

I would be remiss to not mention the controversy around this book and plagiarism concerns raised by Kim Michele Richardson, author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Beyond bringing it to your attention, I can't comment on it further since I haven't read the other book, but it's obviously very disappointing if it the allegations are true. I will be watching the story with interest.

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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 and The Peacock Emporium 

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 Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. 

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers, they’re committed to their job–bringing books to people who have never had any, sharing the gift of learning that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope.  At times funny, at others heartbreaking, this is 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. 


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