Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Giver of Stars

Rate this book
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.

390 pages, Hardcover

First published October 3, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jojo Moyes

89 books58.5k followers
Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes' novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
172,381 (45%)
4 stars
151,158 (40%)
3 stars
44,805 (11%)
2 stars
7,103 (1%)
1 star
2,282 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31,938 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,203 reviews40.8k followers
December 5, 2022
I don't want to read more plagiarism comments. Every book is unique and I truly loved this book which is one of my favorite reads of 2019! Period.

I don’t have to give 5 billion stars to this book! I would donate the full galaxy system to the author if I could. (I already made a phone call and talked to a NASA technician about their star auction department, unfortunately he hanged up on my face! Can you believe it? And I told them I was Buzz Aldrin’s wife, those young people are really disrespectful, see I still stay in role!)

This amazing, fantastic, funny, heartwarming, emotional, genuine book gave me HOPE, HAPPINESS, made me SO RELIEVED, CARELESS, LIGHT, OVER THE MOON IN LOVE WITH IT!
Those amazing, brave, badass, smart, irresistible, strong women carrying books, riding on horses, communicating, educating, helping people to broaden their horizons, meet new worlds, discover their own capabilities are so far best respectable, honorable, devoted, vivid fictional characters you may love with passion.

This may be the best historical, provocative, powerful, encouraging feminist manifesto help women to discover their own identities even though they were living in small moderate town crowded with chauvinists, uneducated, wild men population. They came together to form a town library and found the first version of Amazon delivery (by the postwomen on horses) to reach more families whose minds are seeking to be educated, improved, entertained so by helping them those women give the families a short break from their daily chores and take a small step to new fictional worlds.

Alice: recently married British woman, neglected from her husband, belittled by his father in law Mr. Van Cleeve (biggest SOB, mash up of Downtown Abbey’s Thomas Barrow, Outlader’s Black Jack Randall and J.R. Ewing of Dallas) and being caged in her home life became volunteer to work for the library. Margery O’hare, independent, tough, strong local woman mentors her by introducing her wild but breathtaking nature of mountains which opens the doors to the new world and gives Alice a mesmerizing kind of freedom.

Izzy, Beth and Sophia joins their team and they find themselves bounded with close friendship, sisterhood they’ve never felt before. Their connection, trust, sharing secrets and open their hearts to each other are most remarkable moments of the book warn your hearts and put a big smile on your faces. Maybe those women’s close and genuine connection against the outer world who want to bend, destroy and separate them are better than the romance part of the books.
So many parts make you pissed off, clenching your fists, giving you undeniable urge to spit on Mr. Van Cleeve’s face ( of course after punching him senselessly). The book triggers your inner feminist soul and awakens the secret warrior inside you!

As like Neil Gaiman said: “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragon exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten”
But at least, the conclusion of those amazing women’s stories are satisfying, relieving and earning too many applauses and happy dance, happy hour celebration with my homemade margaritas!
Jojo Moyes is one of the most epic, talented, creative authors on the earth who knows how to touch a human soul, how to relate with human heart and of course how to break it into million pieces.

Do you want to know my real story when I was reading “Me Before You”! I was at my husband’s friends’ house and I got so bored of the conversation. Before I left our home as a preparation I already downloaded epub version of the book on my phone and I started to read it from my phone hid inside my bag throughout our visit, making “hmmm” sounds at the same time as if I was listening best face lifting techniques( oh really!!!). But unfortunately I was reading the last 30 pages of the book. And you know how it ended, right? (Come on! If you haven’t read it at least you may have watched amazing Emilia Clarke’s performance!) And you know what I did! I threw my bag against the wall and I started screaming “Why Willllll whhhyyyyy did you do that!!!!” ( There is no exaggeration! My husband’s friends enjoyed my reaction but their wives still think I need to start popping up Prozac tablets and joining their meditation club, no thanks!)

I was banned to read the sequels of the book. Well, I read them at the night on my restroom breaks secretly and yeah, I couldn’t say they affected me as the first book did. But after a long time, Moyes found her way, release this memorable story and share with us this brave women’s inspirational journey based on real life events.

So dear JOJO MOYES, my all votes for you this year for best historical fiction novel (I’m so ashamed because I wrote the same for The World That We Knew! But my heart is big enough to love more books at the same time. ) Especially the last page of the book gave me a meaningful and long laughter.

I’m finishing my review with Jorge Luis Borges’ meaningful quote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library” (I imagine the same, library next to liquor shop selling the best Chardonnays of the world! Cheers!)

Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
993 reviews2,780 followers
December 18, 2019
I was so excited to see that Ms. Moyes had chosen to write a historical fiction novel and was fortunate enough to obtain an advanced readers copy. It is different from her previous contemporary women’s fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This book is a quick read, the prose flows beautifully and the plot moves along at a good pace. I found the characters to be well developed, interesting and unique.

As you all know from the blurb this book is based on the 1930’s Horseback Librarians program in Kentucky which was started by Eleanor Roosevelt. The purpose was to bring books and thus help educate and enrich the lives of people who lived in the hills in the Appalachian countryside of Kentucky. The program asked a lot of the women who would ride horses and mules laden with books many miles, often in inclement weather, to reach the homes and families in the mountains.

When the call goes out in Baileyville, Kentucky for volunteers for the program there are a myriad of different women with unique personalities. The group is headed by Margery O’Hare who has lived in these mountains her entire life and knows all of the routes up the mountains. She is a fiercely independent woman having suffered from the iron fist of her bootlegger father who died when she was young.

Into the mix we meet Alice Wright a newly arrived English woman who has come to marry Bennett Van Cleve, a wealthy son of a mine baron whom she met on his European tour. Alice wanted so badly to leave her sheltered, suffocating life in England that she fell for the handsome American very quickly. She is disappointed to find that they will not be living in Louisville as she had previously thought, but instead this small town called Baileyville. She soon finds that living with her father in law is just an impossible situation as he has set rules for the household that she must abide by. When she gets the chance to volunteer for the library program she jumps at the chance to get out of the house, meet other women and explore the beautiful mountains.

There is also Beth, Izzy and an African American woman named Sophia who all help out with the running of the library. Their stories I will leave you to discover.

Though the library sounds like a good idea to some, there are others in the town who don’t like mingling with the mountain people and have restricted views of what a woman should be doing with her life. They are up for a battle against these strong and courageous women.

There are many obstacles for them to overcome including racism, prejudice against women working outside the home, physical limitations and suspicion about Alice because she speaks differently, her British accent, and is considered an outsider.

The novel strengthens my belief of the importance of books in everyone’s lives. How fortunate we all are that there are libraries and bookstores where we can enrich our lives with an immense selection of books to suit our every need and taste.

This book will introduce you to the Horseback Librarian program, the beautiful hills of Kentucky and some pretty awful people who only see the hills as a place to mine coal and make their pockets heavy without a thought to the beauty they are destroying. Intruders are not welcome!

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a great historical read with wonderfully descriptive writing and characters that you will not soon forget.

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
August 28, 2021
| | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | |

2.5 stars

“She wasn’t really one for big groups, but she quite liked this, the jokes and the merriment, and the way that you could see actual friendships springing up around the room, like green shoots.”

The Giver of Stars is a sweeping rural romance that tells a fictionalised account of the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians. It is very much a book-club kind of book as it is inspired by a real group of librarians who between 1935 and 1943 delivered books to some of the most remote regions in the Appalachian Mountains. Although this project, and the women behind it, make for a very inspirational subject matter....I'm not sure that this book does them justice.

While I enjoyed those parts that focused on the library project, I found much of the story to be bogged down by unnecessary drama. Most of the book focuses on the way in which the big bad Van Cleve tries to 'destroy' this project and the women behind it...and it was all-too predictable. Plus, I found the romance factor to be far too twee for me.
When the narrative chronicled the librarians' rounds, swiftly taking us alongside them through their rides across a vast and treacherous landscape, I felt very much engaged. The interactions between the librarians and those who inhabit these remote places were compelling, especially since the people they visit were mistrustful, if not downright aggressive. The librarians rise to the 'challenge' and try to emphasise the importance of literature without causing offence. In these sections the novel outlines the direct correlation between poverty and illiteracy, and the way in which literature can 'unite' people together.

Sadly, to deliver some of these deliberately positive messages, the book relies on a cast of shallow characters. We have the clearly good gals/guys (Alice and Margery are very much the heroines of the story) and the comically wicked guy, Van Cleve.
Alice would have been more suited, and convincing, in an 18th century novel (something like Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady). Her main distinguishing attribute is that she is British, so she has an 'accent' that is different from those around her. She possess only good qualities, and it is other people's (the baddies) lack of understanding or ignorance that makes her seem like a 'rebel' of some sort (she isn't).
Margery was the typical 'unconventional' woman, who is opposed to marrying until she Why in historical fiction there has to be this female character who is made to seem so 'unlike' other women (often the narrative or other characters will compare her to a man) in that she is against the marriage institution and does not wish to be tied down, and then .
Alice and Margery happen to fall in love for two handsome men, who happen to be laid-back, kind, aware of social injustices as sexisms and racial intolerance (ahem...sure....lets remember that this book is set in Kentucky during the 1930s)....and they .
The three other librarians are not given their individual character arcs, rather if something happens to them it is usually when either Alice or Margery is there, so that it can be thanks to our heroines that these other women gain self-assurance or whatnot. In fact Alice and Margery seems singlehandedly able to right any wrongs, save lives, unmask Van Cleve...
Van Cleve...is all flaws. You name it, he has it. He is corrupt, sexist, racist, cruel (against his fellow humans & animals), greedy, hypocritical...the list goes on. He is the villain. That's all you need to know.
His son, Bennett, is presented as a coward who is unwilling or unable to stand up to his father (even when Van Cleve is haranguing Alice, his wife). Unlike the two heroes Bennett doesn't do physical work and doesn't care about women's rights or literature...and that's believable-ish...I guess (after all he does come from a well to do family). What I found pretty objectionable is that his sexual inexperience is made fun of by the narrative and our so called heroines & heroes. For some reason or other Bennett has never learnt about sex, and perhaps because of this he has come to regard sex as a sinful if not 'bad' act. Rather than making it clear that it was his strictly conservative and religious upbringing that has lead to his sexual abnegation/impotence, the narrative implies that it is another facet of his cowardice, something to be ridiculed as it is further confirmation that he is not 'enough' of a man (he doesn't stand up to his father, he doesn't work, he isn't concerned by the inequities around him) and because of this he is 'afraid' of having sex. Ahaha (not).
If we were to reverse Alice and her husband's role (so that it was Alice who was reticent or unwilling to have sex ) wouldn't we criticise Bennett for pressuring his wife into having sex? Or of thinking her a coward or less of a woman because she doesn't want to/can't have sex? Wouldn't we disapprove of the narrative and other characters making fun of her because of it?

The story started well enough but the cheesiness of the story, the one-dimensional characters, the unnecessary melodrama, were all not to my taste.

my blog / / my tumblr / / buy me a coffee
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.6k followers
March 25, 2020
this story is a love letter to every person who understands the importance of literacy, of reading for both knowledge and entertainment, and the need for libraries. it is also a tribute to the resilience, independence, and compassion of women. both subjects are very dear to my heart, so this book feels like it was written for me personally, and i love that.

ive only known JM for her romance stories, which i enjoy, but she has really outdone herself with this historical tale. its an ode to humanity, to community, and to friendship. i appreciate this book for not only teaching me about a topic i have never heard of, but for also giving me a story that i could adore and cherish. <3

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,606 reviews24.8k followers
August 14, 2019
A brilliant epic historical drama set in the US Depression era in Kentucky and the Appalachians from Jojo Moyes that draws on real life actual history. Those who have been life long readers will understand the power of books and reading, Moyes focuses on just how important books can be in challenging and changing people and in shaping the world in this powerful telling of the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. The English Alice Wright weds American Bennett Van Cleve on his European Tour to escape the limitations of her life. However, she is to rue her decision when she arrives in Baileyville, Kentucky and the realities and restrictions of small town living begin to sink in, made all the more unbearable by her father in law. She is to take the momentous step of volunteering for Eleanor Roosevelt's efforts to establish travelling libraries, despite opposition at home, delivering books to the impoverished, travelling great distances on horseback. Alice is to find adventure, great friendships, fulfillment, freedom, adversity, danger, resistance and suspicion as she embarks on a path that is set to change fundamentally her identity.

The woman leading the book initiative is the brave Margery O'Hare, the daughter of a bootlegger, strong, independent, unafraid, determined and defiant, and with whom Alice finds support and much needed friendship. Along with Beth, Izzy, and the black Sonia, the courageous women face the initial reluctance of families and women, only to be eventually welcomed and valued. However, men are afraid of losing control of women, and other powerful forces, such as mine owners, exploiting workers who labour in deplorable conditions for poor rewards, see them as a threat and danger to the established social, political and economic order. Increasing literacy, books and knowledge inevitably have consequences, making people question what is, expand horizons, fire the imagination, but change never comes easy, with the rise of implacable resistance, danger and tragedy that follows in its wake.

Moyes writes with passion and verve in this impeccably researched novel, full of details and rich descriptions of this historical era. The women are a disparate group of unconventional, stand out complex characters, that are well developed and who I invested in. This is a terrific read that immerses the reader in this period of US history and the norms, expectations and attitudes of the time, with the drama enhanced by the beautiful location with its wilderness. It touches on issues of racism, class, misogyny, exploitation, and hard lives, with a moving and heartwarming narrative that resonates with our contemporary world where the hard won rights of women can no longer be taken for granted. Additionally, it serves as a salutory reminder of just what an impact books can make to individuals and the world, a world in which our libraries are being closed and under continual threat today. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,286 reviews2,204 followers
October 8, 2019
This is a wonderful tribute to how books can change people’s lives and to the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians, so of course I loved this book. I first heard of the Pack Horse Librarians when I read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. It’s a fascinating piece of history. This initiative was started by Eleanor Roosevelt as part of the Works Progress Administration set up in the mid 1930’s. At first I thought that this would be just a good story about a group of gutsy, dedicated women who brought books to people who would not otherwise have access in the hills of Kentucky. But as the story progressed, I found this book to be so much more.

Margery O’Hare, strong, feisty and independent heads up the program. Alice Van Cleve is a newlywed from England, who has come to Kentucky with her American husband, son of a heartless, cunning mine owner whose interest in making money is more important than the safety of the miners and the citizens of the town. She soon finds that her marriage is not what she hoped for. Izzy, the polio stricken daughter of an established, well to do family is suffocating in her mother’s smothering. Beth, the brash local farmer’s daughter and Sophia, the astute black librarian round out this group and are later joined by Kathleen, one of the women whose family benefited from the books these women brought to her home. As these women take to the road, we see the people of this place and time and their hardships - a father with black lung disease, his wife having to do so much of the hard work, a widowed father raising two little girls, the danger of the mines, the prejudice, the racist sentiments, the poverty, the sexist attitudes towards women. Moyes realistically portrays the things that might have happened in this small mining community in Kentucky in the 1930’s.

I loved how the friendships develop among these women who come to know each other, care about and support each other. They ride through treacherous conditions and I loved seeing how much the people came to look forward to their visits especially the children and how the books and magazines made a difference in their lives . Children learn to read. The sick find respite from their pain as the librarians read to them. I was moved by the impact that the books had, but also the impact that these women make, especially Margery on trying to right some of the wrongs by Van Cleve whose greed causes further suffering for these people.

I found the writing lovely in places, especially the descriptions of the mountains, the landscape. Pertinent quotes from some classic books at the beginning of some chapters was a nice addition - Little Women, The Red Pony and others that I wasn’t familiar with like a little blue book you’ll have to read about for yourself :). Louisa May Alcott could not have imagined the powerful role her book plays in this story. There’s a lot packed into the novel - love stories, friendships, a murder, a courtroom drama, fabulous character development, and as I said at the outset, a wonderful tribute to books and these courageous women and a fantastic piece of historical fiction. I’m a retired librarian so I can’t rate this any less than five stars. :)

I read this with Diane & Esil and as always a wonderful discussion.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Pamela Dorman/Penguin through Edelweiss.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,199 followers
March 16, 2020
5 stars

“She just wasn’t sure she had yet been to the place she was homesick for.”

okay okay okay so where do I start? Maybe with the fact that this book is freaking awesome and I really really liked it? Sounds about right.

So The Giver of Stars is basically about a group of women who work in this mobile library and their adventures while distributing books to houses that can not reach them easily. Honestly if you are not patient this book might bore you a little, because in the first 250 pages nothing big and shocking happens. The story builds slowly till those last 100 pages and then everything happens and it is so freaking good. So my advice if you are not feeling the book in the first few pages, I am telling you that it is all worth it in the end, because the ending is phenomenal.

“There is always a way out of a situation. Might be ugly. Might leave you feeling like the earth has gone and shifted under your feet. But there is always a way around.”

Okay so I didn't hate Alice. Not my favorite character from the book, for sure not one of my favorite characters ever, but I didn't hate her like a lot of people did. On the other hand Margery is hands down one of the coolest characters I've ever read about. She made this book so precious to me.

I went into this book this almost no expectations, and as a person who doesn't frequently read literary fiction I thought that I would give up on this book in no time, but now I am so glad I read it and I really do recommend it to anyone who likes good literature.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,114 reviews2,808 followers
June 10, 2022
Englishwoman Alice Wright meets and marries Kentuckian Bennett Van Cleve after he and his father visit her homeland. Bennet sweeps her off her feet and she's madly in love, picturing living in a busy city, Instead the Bennetts live in a small mining town where they run the mines that employ most of the men while also taking advantage of the men and their families.

The marriage that Alice entered into so happily is a loveless marriage, with her brutal father in law berating Alice at every turn. Alice finds solace and meaning when she starts working as a librarian, part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library. Life for Alice goes from lonely to full of adventure and friendship, as she works with other women and meets the reclusive people of the Kentucky mountains.

This book is full of big and small "issues", some that are barely mentioned and others that are dealt with in more detail. Alice and her coworkers have very few rights or say in what is happening around them and to them but they manage to made a difference, as they try to help the people they deliver books to and make life better for their poor and abused neighbors.

Published October 8th 2019

Thank you to Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin Publishing Group and Edelweiss for this ARC.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,738 reviews14.1k followers
October 8, 2019
4.5 when I first started reading this I thought, wonderful another story about the pack librarians, this set in Kentucky. Wondered how close it would be to the The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Except for the job itself and being part of the WPA, not close at all. I was also glad that do many authors are writing about little known history, of strong women who refused to bend and accept only the roles available at that time.

Then I fell for the characters, was pulled into each of their lives. Women from different backgrounds, but all willing to spread literacy in the mountains, whether the people could reAd or not. Just loved these characters, their customers and their stories, hardships, struggles, just so poignant. The mines and the man who ran them, the men who worked and died in them so that a nasty, a believe me he is a nasty man, could profit at the cost of their safety.

Those who have read Moyes, Me before you, know that she can pull emotion out of a turnip, and I'm not a turnip but a marshmallow. So I can say, this review is based on the emotion this story illicited, the strong friendships within and the feel good nature of the ending. It is a story of struggle and perseverance, but also of love. I'll be honest, the ending was a little over the top, but since I loved so many of the characters, it was also in a very emotional way, mostly satisfying.

This was October's read for Angela, Esil and myself and as always I cherish these reads and their opinions.

ARC from Edelweiss.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,199 followers
March 29, 2020
5 stars

“She just wasn’t sure she had yet been to the place she was homesick for.”

okay okay okay so where do I start? Maybe with the fact that this book is freaking awesome and I really really liked it? Sounds about right.

So The Giver of Stars is basically about a group of women who work in this mobile library and their adventures while distributing books to houses that can not reach them easily. Honestly if you are not patient this book might bore you a little, because in the first 250 pages nothing big and shocking happens. The story builds slowly till those last 100 pages and then everything happens and it is so freaking good. So my advice if you are not feeling the book in the first few pages, I am telling you that it is all worth it in the end, because the ending is phenomenal.

“There is always a way out of a situation. Might be ugly. Might leave you feeling like the earth has gone and shifted under your feet. But there is always a way around.”

Okay so I didn't hate Alice. Not my favorite character from the book, for sure not one of my favorite characters ever, but I didn't hate her like a lot of people did. On the other hand Margery is hands down one of the coolest characters I've ever read about. She made this book so precious to me.

I went into this book this almost no expectations, and as a person who doesn't frequently read literary fiction I thought that I would give up on this book in no time, but now I am so glad I read it and I really do recommend it to anyone who likes good literature.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,295 reviews35k followers
October 2, 2019
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt started a traveling library program and many women answered the call to become traveling librarians. Women traveled on horseback to bring books to those living in rural areas. From the years of 1936 to 1940 over 100,000 people were brought books.

Recently married, Alice (Wright) Van Cleve, has moved from England to her new home in Kentucky with her husband, Bennett Van Cleve and her father in law. New to the area and feeling isolated and alone in her home, she is happy to become a traveling librarian under the guidance of Margery O'Hare, a local woman who lives life on her own terms. Margery knows the mountains and shows Alice the ropes and introduces her to the people who live in the hills above the town.

Soon, Margery and Alice are joined by Beth, Izzy and Sophia who contribute and help the library run even with the town appears to turn against them. Helped and looked after by Fred Guisler, the women band together, form friendships and show courage as they travel long miles in inclement weather knowing that not everyone is on their side and there are those just waiting to see them fail.

"A woman is like a tea bag, you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." -Eleanor Roosevelt.

This was a compelling book based on a true story. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this one. I also enjoyed how this book highlighted each woman's strengths and showed them supporting each other and gaining confidence and courage from being around each other. I enjoyed the positive relationships between the women, so often women are pitted against each other and in this book, they draw strength from each other and lift each other up. There is some romance in this book, but it is the women who truly shine.

Plus, a book about the love of book and sharing books with others, what's not to love?

Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

**Traveling Sisters Group Read
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews28 followers
October 28, 2019
With extraordinary mountain women delivering books as a part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library...
that alone should have kept me interested....
....so-so....fair/ not anywhere near outstanding.

The historical facts are noteworthy....
but it was a slow pony-reading-ride for me.

July 21, 2022
I feel like giving some stars ⭐ too after reading this little gem ‘The Giver of Stars’.

“Life is complicated. Which is why finding a little joy where you can is important”, and the joy a group of women found was in reading and creating a library in this rural, mountainous community.

So, 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars for a book that is inspired by the Packhorse library project that delivered books to remote regions in the Appalachian Mountains between 1935 and 1943. A project that was strongly supported by Eleanor Roosevelt and resulted in 30 libraries for over 100,000 people in the region.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars for the characterisation, of Alice, Margery, and the other feisty and determined women, who against the odds, faced down stubborn opposition from the men. Men who would not endorse an educational scheme around reading, because it would do nothing to help people whose skills and time were needed in mining and cultivating the land. Some even feared an
educated woman, but for many of the women
“to Seek Knowledge Is to Expand Your Own Universe”.

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars for the plot. Alice is a daughter of a middle-class family who is whisked away from the life of privilege and party dresses for a life of promise in America. Only then does she realise her husband’s true feelings and the land of dreams is a small mountain town in Baileyville that is very different from everything she knows and loves. So, when presented with the opportunity to join a group of pioneering women who travelled on horseback to bring books to its rural readers, Alice gasps with both hands. In doing so her life changes as she meets new friends, including the men supporting their campaign. The ending is very satisfying considering the barriers Alice faced, including her father-in-law who is a man used to getting his way.

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars for the storytelling. Moyes captured the setting and ambiance perfectly, the rural mountainous area, the cultural differences at play in class, and women’s rights. An important backdrop to this story was the mind set, typical in these small mining towns where the master more of less held himself as ruler of the town itself because so many of its inhabitants worked in the mines.

Review and Comments

This was a touching story that made me laugh, but with pangs of sadness knowing that some women were treated like this at that time (and still). An adventure story that captured the works of the women from the horseback library.

A story that brought out the power of words in a way few books do with its fitting use of quotes from other novels to enhance the story as well as the beautiful prose from Moyes.

I lost interest a few times in the chapters that felt long. However, for the rest, it conjured up feelings of love, respect, dislike and even hopelessness, “. . . and best of all, the wilderness of books, in which she could wander, where she liked, made the library a region of bliss to her”, and that is a lovely reminder of why our Goodreads community is so important. Reading unites in a world that sometimes feels very divided.

Enchanting, raw, evocative, humorous, and a wonderful nod to all those people, and all those beautiful ladies, who seek to do good against strong opposition.


I read this over a year ago before joining GR. So decided to skim to review and found myself going back to the beginning and reading the book for a second time. I had the same level of enjoyment but took more from the story which was also boosted by doing some research into the true story of the Packhorse library.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,839 followers
August 9, 2020
Before I get into my review, I want to make those reading this aware that I was informed that this book has a similar story to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Whether The Giver of Stars was inspired by the other book, just coincidentally about the same subject matter, or, as some conjecture, a “rip off” of the other title, I will not be addressing. I know that I see many books in one genre released close to each other a lot. One example is it seems like every other week there is a new book about female spies during WWI and/or WWII. So, for now, and with not having read The Book Woman, I will just share my feelings on The Giver of Stars.

Speaking of giving stars, I give this one 5 of them!

This story is built around the WPA Pack Horse Library Project in rural Eastern Kentucky. According to Wikipedia, this project ran from 1935 to 1943. The idea was to deliver books to those who may not have easy means to access them as people would be able to in more affluent, urban areas. It is a very interesting part of American history that I knew nothing about until I read this book and it made for a fantastic backdrop to the story.

This book is full of fantastic and interesting characters. I was easily able to invest fully in each of their lives and backgrounds. When good things happened to them, I rejoiced. When bad things happened to them, my heart broke. When they were angry or mistreated, I raged right along with them. Being able to empathize/sympathize like that tells me I am reading some well developed characters.

The story was fantastic throughout – no filler at all. I was on the edge of my seat watching the project develop from the very beginning, through all the trials and tribulations (greed, racism, sexism, abuse, etc.), to the final conclusion showing the power of the sisterhood of librarians. This is a book that I wanted to step into and when I hit the final page, I did not want it to be over.

I highly recommend this book for historical fiction fans, mid-20th Century American History buffs, and anyone who just loves a great story.
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,460 reviews1 follower
August 28, 2022
This is a historical fiction. I loved this book so much. Their was horses, books (library traveling), love, happiness, sadness, and a ton more, so this book basically has everything I love in one book . This book was very well written. The characters was so developed, and the storyline was everything. I really loved this book.
Profile Image for *TUDOR^QUEEN* .
436 reviews444 followers
October 19, 2019
4.5 Stars rounded up to 5

This was a wonderful work of historical fiction based on the WPA project "Pack Horse" librarians. It was the FDR Administration's order to create a travelling library in the Appalachian Mountains of rural Kentucky. During 1935-1943, women would ride horses to homes in these mountainous locales, delivering books to families. They would come again the next week to retrieve those books and switch them out with others. These librarians came to know these families and what kind of books they would desire to read. At first they were met with distrust and suspicion, but these women were patient, kind and good listeners. They learned what their "customers" liked/needed over time, such as recipe books, picture books for early readers, and classics such as "Little Women."

In addition, the women who volunteered for these paid travelling library positions all had unhappiness or difficult challenges in their lives. One newlywed who hailed from England not only found herself disoriented by her new environment living in the mountains of Kentucky, but also fretted at the thin walls of a home she and her new husband shared with her father-in-law. Alice's husband was hollywood star handsome and immaculately groomed, but months into their marriage they had still not experienced married love. Another Packhorse librarian was a black woman named Sophie who used to be a librarian in an all-black library in a neighboring city. She only returned to Baileyville when her brother sustained a devastating injury and became disabled. Another librarian named Izzy had a limp due to childhood polio, using a cane and a special thick shoe on one foot. Her parents coddled her as a result and she was bored with her sheltered, although comfortable existence. The leader of the library project, Margery, was notorious for living against the grain as she liked, despite other's estimation that she was living a life of ill repute. She kept company with the handsome miner Sven for about a decade, but had no intentions of getting married. All these women found a fulfillment in so many ways performing in this unique role of travelling librarian. They enjoyed nature, self-sufficiency in the elements, establishing meaningful relationships with families, and just knowing what an important role they were playing in people's lives. Their "customers" let them know week by week just how happy these books made them, and even improved the knowledge of children. In one very touching situation, a young wife and mother of three had a dying husband that was bedridden. She asked one of the travelling librarians to come inside and read to her husband for awhile, which was so therapeutic to him.

There also was a lot of angst involving happiness in love relationships. The English export Alice was very attracted to and loved her husband, but months into their marriage, to her confusion and grief, they had not consummated the marriage. Fred had donated the homey and warm cabin that housed the travelling library, and he lived in a lovely abode just behind it. His wife had left him years ago, and he had learned very well to take care of himself. He was rugged and handsome and made a living raising/selling horses, but he also had become a wonderful cook and kept an immaculate home. Everyone in the library noticed the magnetic tension between Fred and Alice. Kathleen Bligh was a recent widow and mother of three young children who vowed to never marry again, heartbroken in her grief. Margery and Sven seemed to have everything going for them including enjoying married love without being married.

This book had so many good things going for it such as likeable characters, life challenges met with courage and resiliency, a strong sense of community...but most of all, friendship. This little library was a safe haven from the problems of the outside world, where one could have a cup of coffee, build a fire, talk about their problems, lock the door against unwelcome visitors, or just read a book in peace. It also was a place where several women were able to build self-esteem, feel productive and add meaning to their lives. I highly recommend this heartwarming and fine book to everyone.

Thank you to the publisher Pamela Dorman Books / Penguin Publishing Group who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Nicole.
732 reviews1,838 followers
February 15, 2023
I wouldn’t have read this book if it wasn’t for the audiobook. Book club kind of novels aren’t my favorite thing to read but I'm surprisingly enjoying listening to these stories. I have seen this book around often recently and decided to give it a try. I haven’t tried anything by Moyes since Me Before You which left me with conflicted feelings.

The Giver of Stars is about five women taking part in Eleanor Roosevelt’s Traveling Library, in Kentucky in the 1930s. The book focuses mainly on Alice and Margaery but we also learn about the rest of the librarians through them. Moyes mostly tackles the discrimination, GBV, and illiteracy in the area at that time. Although this wasn’t that heavy on the romance, it certainly played a part in this story.

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook and I was entirely captivated… most of the book, at least. Starting with the characters, while I didn’t particularly love them, I still enjoyed reading about them. I even liked Alice more than Margaery and was interested more in her story (unpopular opinion, yes). I found Margaery’s characterization cliché instead of refreshing. Sure, I appreciated how she was opposing the norms and doing whatever she wants not caring about the men’s opinions. But that's done many times before. So what makes her stand out? Well, nothing in particular. Independent woman not wanting to marry because marrying means having to answer to someone . I also found Van Cleave your typical famous villain. The full of flaws hateful, mean, violent, traditionalist, controlling, bad old man.

My favorite part was introducing people to reading and nurturing their love for books by giving them suitable novels, magazines, cookbooks, etc. The relation between poverty, illiteracy, and the common belief of the uselessness of education was also pretty well-handled. The librarians always tried to encourage reading in their town without giving up nor embarrassing those who ask (after they refused them first). It was a very nice initiative and didn’t know about it before reading this book.

Overall, it would’ve been a 4 stars read it wasn’t for the last part. I found it very overdramatic and taking the same path as Where the Crawdads Sing… which wasn't a favorite of mine either (that part). Although it’s not a long book, I was surprised when I saw it’s less than 400 pages because it definitely felt longer with all the unnecessary additions. I was also rather indifferent about the romance. I didn’t feel the chemistry.

I will be reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek probably next month because I was interested in the premise and I also want to see if the books are similar. But from what I’ve heard there’s no plagiarism and it was a coincidence. The two books take a different direction after the similar premise. We’ll see. Also, it doesn’t make sense since both books were released within months of each other.

Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
February 16, 2021
Author Jojo Moyes, of Me Before You fame, tries her hand at something a little different here.

Pack Horse librarians in the 1940s

It was hard to put this one down! It's set in depression-era rural Kentucky, where an intelligent (if somewhat clueless, at least at first) English girl moves after a whirlwind romance and marriage to a handsome guy who's the son of the local bigwig and mine owner. Everything - including the marriage, for very good Reasons - is working out to be a huge disappointment for Alice, so when a lady in a town meeting asks for women to deliver library books by horse to the locals, Alice impulsively volunteers, to the dismay of her husband and the anger of her father-in-law.

The Giver of Stars is a well-written historical drama, focusing on the relationships of Alice with the people around her, and spiced up by a murder investigation and trial. Despite the trials and tribulations of Alice and her friends, I'd say this book is ultimately on the lighter side of historic fiction, especially where Jojo Moyes wraps everything up in the end with a nice feel-good bow. But if you like books like Where the Crawdads Sing, I think this one is fairly similar in style.

And I’d love to know more about the actual history of the Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky!


I’ve looked into the plagiarism claims relating to similarities between this book and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I have to say I’m not convinced at all ... and I’m an IP lawyer. Most of the limited similarities can be explained by coincidence and current trends in historic literature (there's an inescapable logic in having a smart black woman character be part of the packhorse librarians, even though there's no actual history supporting that, or having an uncouth mountain man accost and threaten one of the librarians). The timelines of the novels coming out are awfully close for any copying, even if Moyes did see an ARC (which she asserts she didn't). But I’ll reserve final judgment until I actually read Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (ETA: which may never happen at this rate, oh well).
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
November 3, 2019
4.5 stars, rounded up.

"Just a little homesick, Alice answered. It was the truth, she thought. She just wasn't sure she had yet been to the place she was homesick for."

Alice Wright was suffocating in England. Her parents always treated her as an embarrassment, seeing her "emotional" nature and her free spirit as a definite liability, something which needed to be quashed. When she met handsome athlete Bennett Van Cleve, who is visiting England with his father, their whirlwind romance surprises Alice yet gives her a reason to escape her stifling life.

She quickly realizes that living in rural Kentucky in the midst of the Depression isn't much more exciting. She stands out like a sore thumb in their small town, and she and Bennett live with his domineering father, who sticks his nose into everything that goes on in his household. Alice isn't interested in attending teas with the other women, many of whom hate her for landing a man like Bennett, nor is she content simply to sit at home and be idle.

When Eleanor Roosevelt's traveling library program is brought to their town, and volunteers are sought, Alice quickly signs up, much to the chagrin of Bennett and his father. She strikes up a friendship with the library's leader, Margery O'Hare, a tough-talking, independent woman who was the daughter of the town's most notorious moonshiner, and someone who will never let anyone—especially a man—tell her what to do.

After recruiting other women to help, the library program becomes something many residents value, not only for the books, but for the companionship these so-called packhorse librarians bring. But not everyone in the area approves—some, including Bennett’s father—don’t like the "ideas" that these books put in women’s heads.

As Alice’s marriage continues to disintegrate, the library and her fellow librarians become her only source of comfort. But things are becoming more fragile at home and in town, and the librarians, particularly Margery, find themselves in danger and the library is at risk.

This was a fascinating and poignant story that I raced through. It’s funny, I am not much of a fan of historical fiction yet I’ve now read two of Moyes’ historical novels and loved both. There is mystery, romance, emotion, injustice—enough to get nearly anyone fully immersed.

I really do love the way Moyes writes, and these characters felt so real to me. I’m so glad I read this.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
487 reviews1,366 followers
February 23, 2020
Took me a while to get into this one....the beginning very much paralleled that of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. But as I continued to contemplate ditching it, it finally started to take a new curve and I am delighted to say, this became a much larger story.
A man is found in the mountains dead - with a copy of Little Women. A trial ensues with a travelling librarian. A story of resilience, sisterhood, strong women who are each faced with their own challenges but find solace in delivering stories to those less fortunate and bonding together in a town that doesn’t accept them.
Profile Image for Dem.
1,186 reviews1,098 followers
November 13, 2019
3.5 Stars

This is the ideal Winter Comfort Read, put the logs on the fire, or wrap up on the couch with a warm blanket and induge yourself in a little comfort reading. Having readThe Book Woman of Troublesome CreekThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson in May this year I did feel this one sort of overlapped for me and perhaps this is my reason for a 3.5 star rating. A lovely book but more fiction than history and hence my liking it as opposed to loving it.

Set in Depression era America, The Giver of Stars tells the fiction story of five strong women and their unique vocations as Packhorse librarians of Kentucky. The Pack Horse library was a works progress Administration program that operaterated between 1935 and 1943 and delivered books to households in remote ares of the Appalachian mountains. While the characters are fictionalized their Jobs were real and these ladies played an important part in the lives of the people living in remote areas.

The story is well written and the five female characters are likable and interesting. I enjoy stories set in the Appalachian Mountains and there is a nice sense of time and place in this novel. A heartbreaking insight into the hardships and struggles of the people that felt real for the most part. The story is a little predictable with romantic overtones to it and the ending was a bit contrived for me but other readers may love it.

An enjoyable, cosy and easy historical fiction read that I think many readers will enjoy and find rewarding.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
857 reviews65 followers
October 22, 2019
You know, I think that perhaps JoJo Moyes should just not attempt historical fiction. This is just...not good. She might be a bigger author than Kim Michele Richardson, whose book she is accused of plagiarizing but this book is certainly not her best work. Although Richardson's book fell apart for me right at the very end, it is overall a much better book. I can’t finish this one even though I have made it through over 200 pages. The history of the Packhorse Librarians is interesting. However, these characters are horribly drawn; they are all stereotypes or caricatures. They don't work their way through difficulties, sometimes just slumping and walking away or giving up without much of a struggle. The viewpoints are bizarrely inconsistent; you're initially led to believe that two characters are the main viewpoints but then randomly get short sections from a few side characters which do not serve to help flesh them or the story out at all. The bad people remain 100% bad and the good people are just basically 100% good; neither characterization is an accurate depiction of actual human beings. There is too much going on in the actual plot: unhappy marriages, abuse, mining, unions, concerns about morality, racism and discrimination and sexual “deviancy”. Where is the central theme uniting everything?? The dialogue is shallow and cliché. I just can’t keep going.
Profile Image for Sara.
198 reviews144 followers
February 3, 2020
Realy impressed by this book , Loved the bookclub and all the people in it and had an realy great connection with alice , realy enjoyed the story and the pacing and how real this all felt , the only thing that threw me of is the whole murder thing with the prison situation and stuff, I just don't like to read about it because i'm bored by it, but I can 100% recommend this book , don't hesitate to pick it up and let me know what you liked about it , 4⭐⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Danielle.
808 reviews403 followers
February 11, 2021
2020 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.

A pack of strong women, delivering library books via horseback to the outskirts of Kentucky. I’m a sucker for any book about the love of books and this had all that and more. This had a crime/mystery, drama, love, friendship... sooooo many feels with this book. It’s was wonderful!
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,743 reviews2,271 followers
October 29, 2019
Maybe just to know that something this beautiful exists is all we can really ask for.”

The Pack Horse Library Initiative was an initiative that was part of the New Deal project in the 1930s. It was not the first attempt to improve the number of literate residents of Kentucky, the first one lasted one year in 1913. A later attempt followed as the 1920s were approaching and lasted slightly longer than the first initiative. This story covers the initiative of the 1930s. While the people and the incidences may be based on real people or events, I tend to believe this was fairly representative of the era and location.

Before reading this, I’d read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek which I also thoroughly enjoyed. I’d debated whether or not I wanted to read an ARC of The Giver of Stars, but managed to be one of the first to borrow it from my library. I’m so glad that I didn’t pass on this because of the surface similarities, although those weren’t even my concerns. Either way, similarities really all they are. Women. Librarians. These are historical facts. To the best of my knowledge any male librarians were a temporary person helping out, if there were even any of those.

I loved both of these books, loved reading these stories based on history, but where I felt they diverged, beyond the details of the story, was in the writing, and I have to give Moyes the edge there for some lovely prose. That’s not to say that Richardson‘s book isn’t well written, but I preferred Moyes by a smidgen or two.

”The WPA’s Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky program ran from 1935 to 1943. At its height it brought books to more than a hundred thousand rural inhabitants. No program like it has ever been set up since.
“Eastern Kentucky remains one of the poorest – and most beautiful – places in the United States.”

Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,057 followers
October 19, 2019
I really enjoyed this one so thank you to a couple of Goodreads friends who likened it to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek which made me want to read it. I love the idea of those women who set off on the backs of horses and mules to take library books to people who lived far from civilisation.

The Giver of Stars tells of a group of these women and of their lives and their tribulations. Among them is Alice, a young woman from England in an unhappy marriage, Margery, a local woman with very individual ideas and Sophia, a coloured woman with all the difficulties that not being white incurred.

Moyes draws out every drop of emotion which is something she is very good at ( remembering Me Before You). In fact there is everything in this book including a great story, good characters, romance, history, a court scene and a library. Perfect.

An easy five stars from me. So glad I read it.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
October 3, 2021
The Giver of Stars, Jojo Moyes

Englishwoman Alice, newly married to the son of a local small-town coal baron, feels like an unwelcome outsider in her new home.

When the opportunity to join the Packhorse Librarians arises, she is eager to sign up despite her husband’s and father-in-law’s protestations.

But Alice’s new role gives her more than a temporary escape from her troubled marriage—she quickly finds a friend and mentor in Margery, who defies all social expectations even at the risk of her own freedom.

Alice soon forges a tight sisterhood with the other librarians, and develops unexpected friendships with the people to whom she delivers books. And when her marriage becomes unbearable, she moves in with Margery and begins taking real steps toward living life on her own terms. As Alice, Margery and the other women find the courage to go after what they need, they realize they hold the power to transform their small community—and their own futures—with the one thing they all desperately love: books.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «ستاره بخش»؛ «آنکه به من ستاره بخشید»؛ «بخشنده ستارگان»؛ «غریبه‌ای که ستاره می‌بخشد»؛ نویسنده: جوجو مویز؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی روز دوم ماه اکتبر سال 2929میلادی

عنوان: ستاره بخش؛ نویسنده: جوجو مویز؛ مترجم: شهرزاد صالحی، تهران، انتشارات میلکان، 1398؛ در 400ص؛ شابک9786226573795؛ چاپ دوم تا چاپ پنجم 1398؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 21م

عنوان: آنکه به من ستاره بخشید؛ نویسنده جوجو مویز؛ مترجم افسانه اکبرزاده‌مقدم ؛ ویراستار نسترن حسین‌پور؛ تهران، نسل نواندیش؛ 1398؛ در485ص؛ شابک 9786222201364؛

عنوان: بخشنده ستارگان؛ نویسنده: جوجو مویز ؛ مترجم سیمین تاجدینی؛ تهران، آتیسا، 1398؛ در 383ص؛ شابک9786226611855؛

عنوان: بخشنده ستارگان؛ مولف جوجو مویز؛ مترجم نسترن حیدری؛ تهران، انتشارات سیصد و شصت درجه، 1399؛ در 502ص؛ شابک9786226644563؛

عنوان: غریبه‌ای که ستاره می‌بخشد؛ نویسنده: جوجو مویز‏‫؛ مترجمها: امان‌ا... ارغوان، هاجر شکری؛ بجنورد، در قلم، 1399؛ در 564ص؛ شابک9786226372305؛‬

داستانی عاشقانه است که در آن عشق به دوستی‌های زنانه پیوند خورده، زنانی که برای ترقی و رشد جامعه‌ ی خود مبارزه می‌کنند، و با وجود هر شکنجه‌ ای، راه خود را هماره ادامه می‌دهند، خانم «جوجو مویز» در این رمان، طلسم داستان‌های پیشین خویش را بشکسته ،و خوانشگرانش را به شیوه‌ ای دیگر از کتاب‌های پیشین خود، وارد آسمان و سیارات کهکشان داستانی خویش می‌کنند

داستان این رمان در میانه های جنگ جهانی دوم رخ می‌دهد، داستانهای چند زن است، که به عنوان کتابدار در روستای «کنتاکی» دلمشغول به کار هستند؛ آن‌ها با توجه به شرایط دشوار آن روزها دلشان می‌خواهد، کتاب‌های کتابخانه را هر طور شده، به دست مردمانی برسانند که تا کنون کتابی نخوانده‌اند، تا آن‌ها را با راستی زندگی آشنا کنند؛ اما در این راه برای هر کدام از آن‌ها، و مردانی که عاشقشان هستند، ماجراهایی روی می‌دهد؛ ماجراهایی که ذهن خوانشگر را تا پایان داستان به دنبال خود می‌کشاند

نویسنده در این رمان روایتی از زنانی دارد، که در برابر جامعه‌ ی مرد سالار ایستاده‌ اند، و برای گرفتن حقشان از هیچ تلاشی فروگذار نمی‌کنند؛ این رمان را می‌توان نوعی رمان فمینیستی نیز دانست، که در آن زنان دوشادوش مردان، برای رسیدن به جایگاه شایسته‌ ی خویش تلاش می‌کنند، مردان در این کتاب از کارهای زنانشان خشمگین هستند، و باور دارند که آن چند زن چرا می‌خواهند برای بهبود کیفیت زندگی مردمان، آنای را به خوانش کتابها بکشانند، «مویز» در این کتاب زنانی آفریده، که با همگی توانی که از مبارزه‌ جویی، حق‌ طلبی و استقلال فکری دارند، عاشق هم می‌شوند، به همین برهان خوانشگر هرچه رمان پیش می‌رود با شخصیت‌های کتاب بیشتر انس می‌گیرد

نقل از متن کتاب غریبه‌ای که ستاره می‌بخشد؛ (بیشتر خانواده‌ها میوه و سبزی‌ها مورد نیاز خود را کشت می‌کردند، فقط چند خانواده بودند که خوک یا مرغ نداشتند؛ یک فروشگاه بود که کیسه‌های سنگین آرد و شکر در جلوی درب ورودی‌اش قرار داشت؛ قفسه‌هایش نیز پر از کنسرو بود؛ همچنین تنها رستوران شهر، «نیک‌اند کوئیک» نام داشت که درش به رنگ سبز بود و قوانین سختگیرانه‌ای را شامل می‌شد، به عنوان مثال مشتری‌ها بایست کفش به پا داشتند؛ آنجا غذاهایی سرو می‌شد که «آلیس» تا به حال نامشان را نیز نشنیده بود: گوجه فرنگی سبز سرخ شده، کلم و چیزهایی که به آن‌ها بیسکویت می‌گفتند اما در واقع ترکیبی بود از «دامپلینگ و کیک چای»؛ «آلیس» یک‌بار سعی کرد این خوراکی را درست کند اما مانند بیسکویت‌های «آنی» نرم و پفکی نشده بود و وقتی در بشقاب می‌افتاد صدا می‌کرد -می‌توانست قسم بخورد که «آنی» آن‌ها را نفرین کرده است-؛

او چندین مرتبه توسط زنان محلی برای صرف چای دعوت شد؛ در جمع زنان سعی می‌کرد تا وارد گفتگو شود اما حرفی برای گفتن نداشت؛ از لحاف‌دوزی که به نظر یک سرگرمی محلی بود نیز سر رشته نداشت؛ با نام‌هایی که این زنان در غیبت‌های خود به آن‌ها اشاره می‌کردند آشنا نبود؛ به نظر می‌رسید که هر دور همی پس از اولین بار با این موضوع شروع می‌شد که «آلیس» به جای «شیرینی»، با چای خود «بیسکویت» تعارف کرده است؛ این مسئله برای زنان دیگر خنده‌دار بود

در نهایت، به این نتیجه رسید بهتر است در اتاقش بنشیند و چند مجله‌ای را که با خود از «انگلستان» آورده است را بخواند یا برای «گیدون» نامه بنویسد و تلاش کند تا در آن‌ها نارضایتی خود را آشکار نسازد

آليس کم کم دریافت که با ازدواجش فقط یک زندان خانگی را با زندانی دیگر معاوضه کرده است، بعضی وقت‌ها دیگر نمی‌توانست تحمل کند که شب هنگام، پدر «پیت» در حالیکه بر روی صندلی گهواره‌ ای خود نشسته بود، کتاب مقدس بخواند؛ با خودش فکر می‌کرد: «سخنان پروردگار باید تنها محرک ذهنی باشه که ما نیاز داریم، براستی این همون چیزی نبود که مامان می‌گفت؟» در حالی که «آلیس» بوی پارچه‌های روغنی را استشمام می‌کرد که برای دور نگه داشتن پشه‌ها می‌سوزاندند و پارگی لباس‌های آقای «ون کلیو» را می‌دوخت؛ «پ��وردگار از اسراف بیزاره، فقط چهار ساله که این شلوار رو استفاده می‌کنم آلیس! هنوز از عمر اون خیلی باقی مونده.»؛ «آلیس» با خود غر می‌زد که اگر قرار بود خداوند در جایی نیمه تاریک شلوار شخص دیگری را وصله بزند حتما از فروشگاه مردانه «آرتور جی هارمون» یک شلوار جدید می‌خرید.)؛ پایان

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 10/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lucy.
415 reviews612 followers
December 17, 2019

I was really debating between a 3 and a 4 star so ended up in the middle. This book was my first read about the Pack Horse Library Project which opened me up to learning a little bit about history that I never realised.

This was a fictional piece of work based around the library project in a Kentucky. Some parts of this book I really enjoyed- I enjoyed the individuality of each of the women, I liked that in a time where men controlled most things they fought to have this bit of independence. I enjoyed how this project and the books brought together those from in-town and those from more remote locations and gave a sense of a deeply affectionate community. I loved the descriptions of scenes of the sisterhood created between the women, and their fight for their library project and independence.

However this book did not hold my attention through out and I read this so slowly in comparison to other books I have read. I enjoyed more of the first half of this book with the setting up of the library and learning about each of the women, than the second half. I also get annoyed in books where it sometimes appears that a fiercely independent woman gets married (when they didn’t want to before hand) due to societies pressures. I’ve found quite a few authors do this- the character will have no interest in something and suddenly change their minds. I wouldn’t find it an issue so much if it didn’t happen in a lot of the books I have read.

Overall an interesting introduction to a topic I didn’t know and a great portrayal about friendship, however this book just failed me with the characters as I wasn’t always invested/interested in what was happening to them.
Profile Image for Brandice.
860 reviews
March 1, 2020
The Giver of Stars is a historical fiction story about the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky, a group of 5 women who travel through a large region of the mountainous state delivering books to rural residents, through a program inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt. These women endure several challenges along the way, facing racism and sexism, as well as the hardships of small-town life.

Margery, the leader of the pack, was easily my favorite character, an independent woman well ahead of her time. Alice, a newly married transplant from England, tries to find her place among the women, and in town, despite an overbearing father-in-law. Sophia, Beth, and Izzy are the other women participating in the library, each with their own personality and all of whom were generally likable. In addition to maintaining the library and traveling regular routes, the women have their personal lives to deal with, involving family and significant others.

Over the last few years, I’ve read much less historical fiction than I have in previous years — I was feeling burnt out by these stories. I found them blending together, seeming too similar, and not holding my interest as much as they once did. I’m happy to report that was not the case with The Giver of Stars, a story I really liked. As an avid reader, I appreciated the work these women were doing despite the constant obstacles they faced. Additionally, it makes me grateful I did not grow up during this era (1930-40s) which was especially trying for women.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31,938 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.