Book Buzz: Review of the NEW Jojo Moyes book, The Giver of Stars

I love a good book, but sadly with life as busy as it is I don’t get much of a chance to read. I’ve discovered my best moments for reading are when we go away – camping, long weekends on the West Coast or longer trips. These don’t happen too often, but when they do I make sure to always pack a good book!

Fortunately a beautiful new book from one of my favourite authors, Jojo Moyes, landed on my desk as we were packing for a weekend away in October. And once I started it I just couldn’t put it down and become positively anti-social!!

The Giver of Stars is the newest novel from this best-selling author of Me before You. Set in Kentucky during the Depression the topic and tone of the book is a big departure from her usual easy-reading modern romance stories, but it’s a really great one!

Inspired by a remarkable true story, The Giver of Stars features five incredible women and their journey through the remote mountains of rural east Kentucky as a traveling band of librarians known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

About The Giver of Stars

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.

Marriage is not the escape that Alice was hoping for — romance and independence is what she wants – and is exactly what she does not get in her marriage! She quickly finds herself adrift, lonely and unloved.

In 1937, there aren’t many options for women – she is expected to keep house and make babies, neither of which she can do.

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 is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. Together they are joined by three other singular women and what happens to them becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion.

Though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is breathtakingly beautiful, yet equally brutal, they’re committed to their job: taking books to the rural Appalachian people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Trekking alone under big open skies, through wild mountain forests, rain, snow or shine, Alice, Margery and their fellow sisters of the trail discover freedom, friendship – and a life to call their own.

This is a historical novel, based on the true story of the WPA Packing Horse Librarians program that was started by the U.S. government and lasted from 1935 to 1943, and it tells a story about many of the issues that plagued the region, from exploitation of the land and people to protracted issues of race and social justice.

The stirring story delivers on themes such as romance, friendship, poverty, education, sisterhood, heroism, redemption and the life-transforming power of books.

Beautifully told with epic storytelling that is both funny and heartbreaking this book is one I can highly recommend as one for your holiday reading list! A modern classic.


Read an interview with Jojo Moyes about her brand new novel, The Giver of Stars, over on Good Reads.

Emma Reid
Emma Reid

Emma is a mom of three (8, 4 and 2 months). She is an educationalist and holds a Bachelor Degree in English, Media & Writing and Film. She is also a qualified Primary School Teacher. She has a keen interest in curriculum and content development especially for child related fields. Currently she spends her days as lead creative and Cape Town City Director for Adventure Clubs. In this role she plans and creates unique experiences for families with young children. With many years of teaching children, and advising parents, she is passionate about childhood development and education - of kids and parents. Her hobbies include photography, reading, travel and spending time in the outdoors with her family and relaxing either in or near the surf!

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