Thursday, March 25, 2021

27. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

listened on Libby
narrated by Julia Whelan - Absolutely fantastic.
Unabridged audio (13:52)
388 pgs.
Adult Historical Fiction
Finished 3/25/2021
Goodreads rating:  4.27 - 251,213
My rating: 5
Setting: 1937 eastern Kentucky

First line/s:  "Listen.  Three miles deep in the forest just below Arnott's Ridge, and you're in silence so dense it's like you're wading through it."
My comments: Hot damn, I loved this book.  I had read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek last year, so I was acquainted with the general idea of the WPA eastern Kentucky packhorse librarians of 1935 to 1943.  The narrator was absolutely fantastic.  I loved the characters: seven feisty women, two wonderful gentlemen, and a huge array of small-town folk who were mostly unlikable.  Yes, definitely a love story, but more importantly a wonderful piece of well-researched historical fiction,

Goodreads synopsis:  From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.
          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.

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