The Giver of Stars
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Imprint: Michael Joseph
Publication date: 1st October 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading
Alice Wright has travelled halfway across the world to escape her stifling life in England. Handsome American businessman Bennett Van Cleve represents a fresh start. But she soon realises that swapping the twitching curtains of suburbia for newlywed life in the wild mountains of Kentucky isn't the answer to her prayers. But maybe meeting Margery O'Hara is. The heart and backbone of the small community of Salt Lick, a woman who isn't afraid of anything or anyone, Margery is on a mission.
Enlisting Alice, along with three other women, all from very different backgrounds, to join her, the band of unlikely sisters battle the elements and unforgiving terrain - as well as brave all manner of dangers and social disapproval - to ride hundreds of miles a week to deliver books to isolated families. Transforming the lives of so many is all the impetus they need to take such risks.
And for Alice, her new job and blossoming friendships become an unexpected lifeline, providing her with the courage she needs to make some tough decisions about her marriage. Then a body is found in the mountains, rocking the close-knit community and tearing the women apart as one of them becomes the prime suspect. Can they pull together to overcome their greatest challenge yet?
In a remote mountain town in Kentucky blood feuds are long held and money is power. Six women attempt to bring knowledge through books to the secluded mountain homes and thus the Baileyville Packhorse librarians are formed.
This unlikely group of women soon become firm friends supporting each other through hard times. But they soon realise a woman has to play by a man’s rules or be squashed.
This is my first JoJo Moyes book and I found the story a little slow at the start and it took a while to feel any connection with the characters.
I did enjoy this book; it just didn’t blow me away. It could have been a lot more immersive. It needed to have a lot more showing and less telling. I didn’t feel the mountains, the bitter cold or even the true remoteness of the setting.
Moyes has included themes of violence to women, lack of literacy skills in remote areas, the long and dangerous hours miners have to endure and how the powerful mine owners championed profit over safety.
I loved how the women supported each other and how the whole town, even though divided at times, banded together during the flood to help each other out.
Moyes has written a compelling tale of a town living under the burden of a money hungry employer and how a group of women were not scared to go against societal expectations to make the town a better place for everyone.
My rating 3.5/5
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