Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow #1

The Librarian of Boone's Hollow

Rate this book
A traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback and rediscovers her passions in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.

During the Great Depression, Addie Cowherd dreams of being a novelist and offering readers the escape that books gave her during her tragic childhood. When her adoptive father loses his job, she is forced to leave college and take the only employment she can find--delivering books on horseback to poor coal mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

The small community of Boone's Hollow is suspicious of outsiders and steeped in superstitions that leave Addie feeling rejected and indignant. Although she finds an unexpected friend in an elderly outcast, the other horseback librarians scorn her determination to befriend Nanny Fay.

Emmett Tharp grew up in the tiny mountain hamlet where most men either work in the coal mine or run moonshine. He's the first in the community to earn a college degree, and he has big dreams, but witnesses the Depression robbing many young men of their future.

Then someone sets out to sabotage the library program, going so far as to destroy Addie's novel in progress. Will the saboteur chase Addie and the other librarians away, or will knowledge emerge victorious over prejudice? Is Emmett the local ally that Addie needs--and might their friendship lead to something more?

Inspired by the real WPA program that sent librarians on horseback to deliver books to hill families in Kentucky, Kim Vogel Sawyer immersed herself in Appalachian history to tell this captivating story.

368 pages, Paperback

First published September 1, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Kim Vogel Sawyer

110 books978 followers
Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out her book in the library. The little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer's Return. Kim's titles now exceed 1.5 million copies and are available in six different languages. A former elementary school teacher, she now enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Kim's passion lies in writing stories that point the reader to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. When Kim isn't writing, you'll find her traveling with her retired military hubby, spoiling her granddarlings, petting the cats, quilting, or--as time allows--participating in community theater. You can learn more about Kim's writing and speaking ministries at her website, KimVogelSawyer.com.

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
602 (40%)
4 stars
583 (39%)
3 stars
255 (17%)
2 stars
39 (2%)
1 star
15 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 414 reviews
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,456 reviews1 follower
January 19, 2022
This is a Historical Fiction that takes place in Southern American. This book was beautifully written. This book as well developed characters, and the story was character-driven. I really loved this book, but I have to say the ending left me wanting so much more. I have to say I really love the cover of this book. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Waterbrook Press) or author (Kim Vogel Sawyer) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review about how I feel about this book, and I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,594 reviews3,473 followers
June 10, 2022
{Psst, if you’re looking for a video review, please check out this video—it’s pure fangirling over this plot and characters, but, oh well. 😉 }

About this book:

“During the Great Depression, Addie Cowherd dreams of being a novelist and offering readers the escape that books gave her during her tragic childhood. When her adoptive father loses his job, she is forced to leave college and take the only employment she can find--delivering books on horseback to poor coal mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

The small community of Boone's Hollow is suspicious of outsiders and steeped in superstitions that leave Addie feeling rejected and indignant. Although she finds an unexpected friend in an elderly outcast, the other horseback librarians scorn her determination to befriend Nanny Fay.

Emmett Tharp grew up in the tiny mountain hamlet where most men either work in the coal mine or run moonshine. He's the first in the community to earn a college degree, and he has big dreams, but witnesses the Depression robbing many young men of their future.

Then someone sets out to sabotage the library program, going so far as to destroy Addie's novel in progress. Will the saboteur chase Addie and the other librarians away, or will knowledge emerge victorious over prejudice? Is Emmett the local ally that Addie needs--and might their friendship lead to something more?

Inspired by the real WPA program that sent librarians on horseback to deliver books to hill families in Kentucky, Kim Vogel Sawyer immersed herself in Appalachian history to tell this captivating story.”

Series: As of now, no. 

Spiritual Content- Luke 6:27 at the beginning; Many Scriptures are quoted, mentioned, remembered, thought over, & discussed; Many prayers; Church going, hymns, & sermons; Witnessing; Many Talks about God, faiths, His paths for each of us; ‘H’s are capitalized when referring to God; Many mentions of God, Jesus, faiths, & His paths for each of us; Many mentions of prayers, praying, thanking God, & blessings over food; Many mentions of blessings & being blessed; Mentions of Bibles, Bible reading, & those in the Bible; Mentions of churches, church going, pastors, services, sermons, & hymns; Mentions of a ministry; Mentions of Christmas; A few mentions of Heaven; A few mentions of sins; A mention of a miracle;
*Note: People in Boone’s Hollow think Nanny Fay is a witch & have outcasted her for this (she is not a witch); Many mentions of superstitions, luck, people thinking Nanny Fay is a witch, & spells/potions; A mention of the superstitious belief that mirrors can steal one’s soul; A mention of Emmett’s mother believing card games are of the devil (he does not share her view, but respects her too much to partake in such games).

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: an ‘idiot’, a ‘sissy’, three ‘stupid’s, thirteen form of ‘dumb’; A little bit of eye rolling; Injuries, Pain, & Blood/Bleeding; Many mentions of Bettina’s injuries from a family member’s beatings, the physical and verbal abuse, & pain (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a mother being beaten by her own mother and husband, injuries, blood, & her death from it all (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a 13-year-old girl being sold by her parents to wed a complete stranger; Mentions of alcohol, drinking, & a mean and violent drunk; Mentions of threats & having a gun aimed at you (including a man threatening to blow some officers’ brains out); Mentions of hatred, prejudices, & jealousy; Mentions of lies, lying, & liars (Bettina tells some lies in regard to her relationship with Emmett); Mentions of gossip & rumors; A few mentions of The Trail of Tears, being left to die, & deaths; A few mentions of tobacco & a cigar box; A couple mentions of mine cave-ins & injuries; A couple mentions of stealing; A couple mentions of vandalism; A couple mentions of poison; A couple mentions of smoking some loco weed; A couple mentions of chicken carcasses; A couple mentions of mice being caught in traps (barely-above-not-detailed); A mention of slavery; A mention of throwing up; A mention of hunting;
*Note: Mentions of authors, books, series, actors, & movies.

Sexual Content- A forehead-to-forehead touch; A couple embraces & blushes; Some noticing; Mentions of kisses/kissing & sparking (barely-above-not-detailed, Bettina talks about kissing Emmett a bit and later catches him with his shirt unbuttoned and hints to Addie that they were spoonin’ (they actually weren’t)); Mentions of jealousy; A few mentions of flirting; A few mentions of sashaying hips (Bettina tries to do it like the movie starlets do); A couple mentions of making sheep’s eyes at someone; A mention of a woman becoming a man’s wife in every way three years after their marriage; A mention of a man only being good at is making new little family members; A mention of cute boys; Some love, falling in love, & the emotions;
*Note: A few mentions of stillborns & not being able to nurse those babies.

-Adelaide “Addie” Cowherd, age 21
-Emmett Tharp, age 22
P.O.V. switches between them, Nanny Fay, & Bettina
Set in 1936

368 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- Two Stars
Early High School Teens- Three Stars (and a half)
Older High School Teens- Four Stars (and a half)
My personal Rating- Five Stars

{Please note the topic of abuse (though never detailed) and adjust the stars according to each girl in case of triggering content.}

Ohhhh. This was such a wonderful book and I’m so thrilled to mark this as my first five-star book of 2020.

{Psst, if you’re looking for a video review, please check out this video—it’s pure fangirling over this plot and characters, but, oh well. 😉 }

I’m not sure where to begin, so let’s just start:
We see the point-of-view of four characters, Addie, Emmett, Nanny Fay, and Bettina.

Starting of with my favorite character—and now one of my favorite characters of all time—Addie. Addie is an absolutely precious human being. She kindness and caring for everyone and living out the Golden Rule of treating others how you would like to be treated was so beautiful. That message is something I believe in needed not only in this crazy year but in everyday life. I think some may think her to be too perfect, but I thought there were quite a few glimpses into her thoughts and actions of her having to remind herself to look for the blessings—no matter how small of a blessing—and her realistic emotions. I loved her attitude towards life, others, and how level-headed she was. I could go on and on, but let’s just wrap up with that this character inspired and challenges me to be better.

Emmett. As far as leading guys go, he wasn’t my absolute favorite, but he was a really good guy. He treated others with respect and was a likeable character.
Time for a side note: Addie & Emmett. This “romance” was so incredibly clean with not even a single kiss or noticing of an ankle. (Did I just poke at the majority of historical Christian Fiction? Ooops.) Their relationship was so sweet but yet so innocent and calm. None of the major amounts of butterflies or accidental touches like in other books. It was so clean and so sweet, it was so lovely.

Nanny Fay. She’s been branded as a witch in Boone’s Hollow because of her late husband’s family having Cherokee blood and because she makes helpful teas and balms with natural ingredients. When you find out her story, you realize that she had many opportunities to turn bitter and angry, but she did not. She held fast to the Lord and was so kind to everyone even when others didn’t treat her kindly. I adored Nanny Fay and Addie’s faith conversations and that truly added even more to my enjoyment of the story. The faith content was phenomenal and both of those characters were so refreshing to see.

Bettina. Ah, Bettina. If we didn’t have her point-of-view, we probably would dislike her and not feel much—if any—compassion towards her and her situation. The negative content/content warning for this book comes from Bettina’s parts. Her father is a mean drunk that verbally and physically abuses her. She wants out of her current circumstances and has a plan for it to change.

I so enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the characters—especially Addie and her mindset. I enjoyed the wonderful faith content and I enjoyed the sweet, clean romance. I feel so satisfied at the ending and how everything wrapped up. Please do expect me to chat about this book often on my BookTube channel, because this has become a new favorite my mine. :)

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Publisher (WaterBrook) for this honest review.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,814 reviews32.4k followers
March 15, 2021
4 stars
A book takes one into another person's thoughts and emotions. Books open up worlds beyond the view from one's own window.
The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow takes place in Kentucky in the late 1930’s. It follows Addie Cowherd, who takes a job delivering library books on horseback in the small mining town of Boone’s Hollow.

Emmett Tharp is from Boone’s Hollow and he meets Addie in college. He’s surprised to see her in his small town when he’s back looking for work. This story follows Addie and Emmett, but we also get the perspective of two side characters- Nanny Fay and Bettina.

I enjoyed this one so much. It was light on the romance, but still a great read. I especially loved Nanny Fay, the misunderstood older woman who most of the town doesn’t care for. Bettina wasn’t a likable character, but getting her perspective made you feel for her. If you’re looking for a historical fiction with a touch of romance I recommend this one. 

Audio book source: Libby (library borrow)
Story Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Kate Forbes
Narration Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Length: 12 hours and 32 minutes

Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 3 books1,637 followers
August 25, 2021
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

"These feuds an' fear gotta end."

That line resonated so loudly as I was reading this timely book.

This beautiful story touched my heart on multiple levels. Its exquisite depth and rich atmosphere immersed me into the quaint mountain town of Boone's Hollow, where I met a quirky cast of amazing characters that each wriggled their way into my heart.

Mrs. Sawyer once again created characters worth caring about. The depth to which she develops her cast is something to not only admire but also to study, if you're a writer like me. The way she captures a local way of speaking amazes me every time, and this talent of hers is one of the many reasons why her characters pop off the pages.

The glimpse at coal mining reminded me of Homer Hickam's true-life story in the movie October Sky. Another similarity between that film and this book was the difficult and sometimes heartrending father-son relationship.

What really made this book stand out among the 150+ books I've read this year is how a library was used to bring hope to families struggling through the Great Depression years. I had never before heard of packhorse librarians, but this story made me want to learn more. The way this novel was written -- filled with hope, love, and lots of grace -- kept me intrigued throughout, and I can hardly wait to read it again. It has moved itself into a tie with My Heart Remembers for my favorite KVS book -- and I wasn't sure that would happen after years and years of MHR reigning alone in that spot.

"What I want is for you to fully use the abilities God has given you."

The above quote really spoke truth into my soul. I'm not fully sure in how many ways God wants to fulfill this in my life, but I am eager to find out.

My heart ached and ached for Bettina this time. I also felt the devastation Addie felt when her world collapsed along with the economy.
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,827 reviews87 followers
September 14, 2020

Check out this and other great posts on my blog https://cnnamongirl.wixsite.com/website

This book kept me up later reading it and I resumed reading it early this morning, finishing it within less than 24 hours. Now the long wait for the next title.
I have read almost all of this author's books and there are plenty of them because they are just that fabulous! She really puts her heart and soul into her books and I really love the research she puts into each and every book. It just makes them that much better.
In this one we are transported back to the hill country of Kentucky, this mining town was full of people in the boonies who are wary of strangers so this traveling librarian,Addie Cowherd didn't know if she'd ever be able to fulfill her dreaming of becoming a published novelist since she wasn't one of them.
It was interesting to read about the struggles during the Great Depression and my favorite character is Nanny Fay who was really not what the people thought she was but just a lonely old woman.
Heartwarming this will be one you'll remember!

Pub Date 15 Sep 2020
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Staci.
1,701 reviews518 followers
August 31, 2020
The Great Depression is such a fascinating time period. Addie Cowherd is one of few Americans able to continue with college during this time of financial hardship. What she doesn't know is that her adopted parents have made great sacrifices and paid for her education as long as they possibly could. Addie learns from her College Dean that she must leave before the semester ends. The tone for the novel is set very early on with Addie's positive response to this heartbreaking news. Yes, she is terribly sad, but she is resilient and her main concern is helping her parents get back on their feet. Addie truly lives out her life the way Christ would want each of us to live.

Emmett Tharp of Boone's Hollow was a four year scholarship recipient and is frustrated with the lack of opportunity available after he graduates. His relationship with her father, a coal miner, reminds me quite a bit of the father and son in the movie October Sky.

Addie moves away from her college town and hours away from her parents to take a job as a pack horse librarian. This is one of the government projects to aid the economy and assist citizens. Her role is to travel by horse or mule and collect/deliver library books from residents on the mountain. Boone's Hollow is deeply set in tradition and prejudices and she is not well received by most.

Secondary characters Bettina, with her mountain vernacular, and Nanny Fay, with her "sordid" past add so much to this novel.

The Librarian of Boone's Hollow is a wonderful display of God's love through the characters and words in the pages. My gratitude to publisher WaterBrook for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Beth.
777 reviews316 followers
September 19, 2020
The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow is a fascinating look at the Great Depression and the packhorse librarians employed by the government during that time to remote regions of the Appalachian Mountains. Addie Cowherd had hopes of being a college graduate, but the economic difficulties mean she must quit and find a way to support herself. Through a connection with the local library, she acquires a job as a packhorse librarian, traveling to Boone’s Hollow, where she is most decidedly treated as an outsider by the majority of the townspeople. However, she is not without friends – Emmett Tharp moves back home to Boone’s Hollow after graduating from college, with hopes of finding a job closer to home, while Nanny Fay provides Addie with not only a place to stay, but a home away from home.

I appreciated the strong faith message in this novel, primarily to trust God no matter what circumstances life is bringing your way. Addie endears herself to the reader by being able to accept changes with grace, while also being a bit bewildered by her new surroundings and receiving treatment from others that she’s not used to receiving, while Nanny Fay reacts to even the smallest blessing with gratitude and warmth. Emmett attempts reconciliation, as he clashes with his father over what he feels he is called to do with his life. Throughout the story, Sawyer does well to highlight prejudices and ways of life that were realistic to the time, though heartbreaking and off-putting to the modern day reader. There is a slight thread of romance that is very light, but does have a happily ever after in the end.

I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to post a positive review, and these are my honest thoughts and opinions.
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,336 followers
September 5, 2021
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed KVS's ability to tell a captivating story. The characters are strong and (mostly) good. The story arc with the antagonist was honestly the part that bugged me the most because it was hard to feel sympathy for her because despite her own pain she continually contemplated causing pain to others.

Addie is a strong lead and I loved how she woke up to her circumstances at college and instead of becoming a weeping, helpless mess, she got up and took hold and did something. I really enjoyed the parts about her making new friends along the way...this was probably my favorite part about the characters.

The part about the packhorse librarians was very interesting and is always a subject I'm interested in. I did think it was a little funny that the girls made a big deal about wearing overalls and riding astride like it was 1850 or something, since girls didn't much care about not showing ankles there and routinely rode astride--side saddles weren't a "thing" much of anywhere by the 1930s. Here's an interesting article about the program: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/histor...

Emmett was a solid lead guy, quiet and steady. I didn't feel like I got to know him anywhere near as much as I did Addie, so in many ways he remained a mystery. Just as I began to get a really good picture of who he was, the story was over. I'd have liked more chapters with Emmett, especially since the issues with his father ended up playing a role in the events.

Nanny Fay, though, was both an enjoyable story about someone who's been an outcast finding sympathy, and a huge frustration. The very things that made her appear as an outcast were the things that would make a woman most valuable in old-time Appalachian culture. Mountain culture was innately suspicious of every outsider and of any organized medicine, being both fatalistic about disease (remnants of the strong Calvinism of the French and Scottish ancestry they celebrated) and deeply superstitious about anything resembling cause and effect. There is no reason that anyone would have thrown off the local herb woman just because someone died—not with the innate fatalism rampant in Appalachia. The Cherokee link doesn’t hold water either, since they received shelter there during the Trail of Tears era. Of all the cultures of frontier America, the Appalachian one was probably the most compatible with native tribes, given how they also wished to live off the land and learned many herbal and gardening processes from them. There is also no evidence that anyone in the culture would have ostracized one of their own as a “witch lady” or anything of the sort for the reasons given.

Here is a paper about the importance of aging women healers in the community: https://dc.etsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.c...

So, overall, while I liked the themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness, the massive historical miss on Nanny Fay’s character left me feeling disconnected from the story and the setting.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.
Profile Image for Amanda Tero.
Author 27 books525 followers
August 12, 2020
You ever have that book that just falls in your hands at the perfect moment? Well, that was The Librarians of Boone's Hollow for me. I love giving books five stars, but usually there's just something in a book that knocks off a star for me--whether it is content, writing style, etc.

I honestly can't think of giving this one any less than five stars. It was just so beautifully done. I have loved reading Kim Vogel Sawyer's books for years now, and this is one of my favorites.

Maybe it's because I just finished researching the packhorse librarians for my own book or maybe it's because I'm a college student like Emmett and Addie. Or maybe it's just that I needed a good, solid, steady read right now. Regardless, this book was totally the perfect fit.

I love all of the characters. Emmett wasn't a perfect young man, but he was genuine. Addie was a total sweetheart. If she had a fault, it was perhaps in being a little too perfect at times. And then there was Bettina. Wow, that girl. She was one of the most unique characters and yet you couldn't help but feel sorry for her and understand her reason behind her actions. Nanny Fae was a beautiful picture of someone following Jesus even when it was hard.

The Christian message flowed steadily throughout the entire book, which is a huge plus for me. Especially in this day and age, we can all use the reminder to be kind to people--to "kill them with kindness," as Addie's parents admonished her. That was such a lovely theme, and to have it backed with Scripture was beautiful.

The romance was perfect for me. It was simmering throughout the entire story, but wasn't full of lustful wishes or thoughts. Rather, it was natural attraction in the flow of life. That, I can approve of. Those who wish for no romance might not want to read this, but honestly I would hand it to my 17 year-old sister without any qualms.

Reading this just left me satisfied and happy--which is a delightful feeling to have at the conclusion of a book.

*I received this from NetGalley and happily provided my honest review*
September 5, 2020

My Recommendation
Setting: Kentucky in the 1930s, during the height of the Depression
If you grew up during the 1970s and enjoyed watching “The Walton’s”, this book is for you! It has the same “flavor” to it; all about life and survival in a backwoods mountain town during the Great Depression. It was a time when caring men and women went out of their way to distribute reading materials by horseback to the mountain people, in an effort to bring some pleasure and hope into the lives of those less fortunate.
I would highly recommend this to all readers of historical fiction!
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,640 reviews56 followers
August 6, 2021
What makes somebody a librarian?

You may think merely being employed at a library makes somebody a librarian, but that's not true. I've been working for my local 'berry system for nearly a decade, and have never been able to claim that title. For the first several years, I was a page; now, I'm an assistant. We also have or have had techs, IT people, a PR person, and plenty more. When I tell people where I work, they automatically assume I'm a librarian; working at a library doesn't make you one any more than working at a hospital automatically makes you a doctor.

Still, as a longtime library lover, this book was right up my alley. It served as a fun look at how 'berries used to be decades ago, and how not all towns--even now--can afford all the extravagancies that many library branches in big cities have. A friend from my church who lives in a small town used to say that her local 'berry was "the size of somebody's living room"; that actually sounds luxurious compared to the one described here. For those who like library tales and sweet stories, this one is a treat.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,441 reviews59 followers
September 12, 2020
The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a beautifully written historical novel. The author captured the time-period and locale. I felt that the author transported me into the hills of Kentucky where working in the coal mines was the main occupation. There are some great characters in this story. Addie Cowherd was fortunate when she was adopted by Fern and Penrose Cowherd. They raised her to be resilient and to rely on God. Emmett Tharp is proud to have completed high school and college. He is a hard worker and a gentleman. Nanny Fay was my favorite character. She had such a cheery attitude despite how she is treated and the hardships she endures. Nanny Fay was a woman of strong faith. It was fascinating learning about the Kentucky Pack Horse Project. Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to feed people minds. Women worked long hours transporting reading materials by horseback or mule to remote farms. The point-of-view switches between Addie, Emmett, and Bettina (a horseback librarian from Boone’s Hollow). The author captured the mountain vernacular spoken by Bettina and the other mountain folk. I like how the Christian message was present through the whole book. It is wonderful that we are reminded to be kind to others and despite how one may be treated to “kill them with kindness” (a phrase my mother used with me when I was growing up). I also liked the Scripture passages used in the book that supported the various messages. The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow was a joy to read. There are references to physical abuse in the story which, unfortunately, was common. I like that the romance was not at the forefront. Some wonderful classic books are mentioned in the story. My favorite phrase came from Addie who loved books and said, “nothing more magical or as satisfying as a book.” If you like to read Christian historical novels, then you should read The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow. The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow is a special Christian tale with beloved books, a stubborn steed, a persistent person, a missing manuscript, surprising superstitions, and a gracious God.
Profile Image for Missy.
311 reviews56 followers
July 29, 2021
I have read other books about the packhorse librarians, and all of them a different take on this very unique system in the 1930's.

This one about an aspiring author, Addie Cowherd, who under circumstances accepts a job in Boone's Hollow as a packhorse librarian. When circumstances become dire for her family she is determined to help in any way she can. But riding a horse, living with an outcast, and making friends with people who really don't like outsiders becomes more of a challenge. But Addie is determined to do just that. And it helps just a little that the in coming director is also a fellow she met at college.

I enjoyed this book very much. I cannot believe this, but this is my first Kim Vogel Sawyer read - have lots of wants to read by her though. So I will definitely have get more of her books.

Profile Image for Loraine.
2,955 reviews
September 14, 2020
Kim Vogel Sawyer never disappoints, and this book was up to her usual fine standards. Set in the depression era when times were hard for everyone, but especially those living in the hills of Kentucky. Thanks to Roosevelt's WPA project, Boone's Hollow had a much needed, but very run down small library. Abbie Cowherd finds a job there when her parents' no longer have the money for her to continue her final year at the University of Kentucky. Her part time library job during college helped her land the job as a horseback librarian in Boone's Hollow where the mountain people don't have much use for outsiders.

Sawyer's portrayal of the mountain people, the town, their speech, their ways, and their disdain for outsiders was well done. The relationship between Abbie and Emmett was so sweet as professional as Emmett was trying to be. Bettina another of the book deliverers was conniving, deceitful, and obsessed with Emmett. But as the story unfolded, it was much clearer what was behind her behavior. I especially liked how Abbie's grace and love led to Bettina's life being changed for the better. I especially loved the role Nanny Fay played in Abbie's life and Bettina's as well as the change she effected in the town's attitude toward outsiders.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
Profile Image for Celestria.
215 reviews205 followers
January 16, 2023
3 ½ 🌟

I liked this more than I thought I would, but I personally found Addie a little too perfect and nice all the time. Bettina was definitely my favorite character and I wish there'd been more of her POV.
Profile Image for Renee.
1,030 reviews171 followers
August 24, 2021
The Librarian of Boone's Hollow is a sweet story, but it does not shy away from the ways humans can hurt each other. It addresses the themes of abuse, prejudice & bullying without being graphic, and presents authentic faith-filled answers. I cared about the characters & especially loved the faithful & forgiving Nanny Fay. I have a print copy of this book at school for my students, but I listened to the audiobook & really enjoyed it!

Why am I drawn to coming-of-age stories, especially those relating to teachers & librarians? Because I'm an English teacher who loves books. And also because no matter how old I get, there are times I feel like a little girl who needs her father. I love this Bible verse: "I have upheld you since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you." Isaiah 46:3&4
Profile Image for Abigail Harris.
Author 26 books182 followers
August 19, 2020
Ooh, this was so wonderful!

I read "The Librarian of Boone's Hollow" by Kim Vogel Sawyer now, since I recently read "A Strand of Hope" by Amanda Tero, and am reading the other books in the Librarians of Willow Hollow Series which has sparked a keen interest in the horseback librarians.

At a harsh time in history, The Great Depression impacted most of the world, and it is not something I have researched all that much, aside from a few books that mentioned it (yes, they normally ended up taking place during WWII as well...)

This novel has a strong message of how to treat others, I fell in love with the town of Boone's Hollow and the citizens' stories.

Mentions of physical abuse.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher/review company. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Tamara.
660 reviews12 followers
March 25, 2021
The Librarian of Boone's Hollow is a sweet story. It follows Addie who has had to cut short her education because her father is no longer employed due to the economy, and though she is disappointed, she tries her best to make good a situation that isn't to her liking. She moves to Boone's Hollow because of a job. She had a wonderful relationship with her adoptive parents and her strong faith through this hardship showed her values were instilled in her at an early age were to her benefit. It's slow-moving but I suspect so was the town she was in. There are themes of faithfulness, forgiveness, and respect. She made the best of a situation that she didn't want in the beginning. The ending was satisfying.
March 30, 2023
I loved the book, it was wonderful!
The first chapters I wasn't sure if really deserves 5 stars. Seemed a little too long for the action to actually begin. I pushed myself to read it and I'm glad I did. It was totally worth!
I mostly liked the characters. Bettina made it hard a little, but I ended loving her.

I highly recommend it for anyone!
Profile Image for Hannah Joy.
250 reviews
March 17, 2021
When I finished this book last night, I just wanted to hug it. Every time I think about it now, I smile and it is definitely one of my new favourite books!

The story follows Addie Cowherd who finds work as a packhorse librarian in a small community after she has to quit her university education due to financial difficulties. There she is faced with the opposition and unkindness of the people who are wary of strangers and take a particular disliking to Addie because she boards with Nanny Fay, whom they believe to be a witch simply because she uses herbs and natural remedies.
That's as good of a summary as I can write!

It was like a breath of fresh air because it wasn't heavy on the romance (there was very little), but it was heavy on faith content which I loved!!

Let's talk characters:

Addie/Adalaide Cowherd
Addie was so sweet, kind, compassionate & persistent even when facing struggles.
She loved books and reading which I obviously related to. The way she reacted to the unkind treatment she received was so admirable. She was just overall a really nice character!

Emmett Tharp
While Emmett isn't my favourite male lead of all time, he was certainly a great guy and again I loved how he had a love of reading. He quoted books a couple of times which just made me so happy!

Nanny Fay
Nanny Fay! Oh my! She was probably my favourite of all the characters. Sh head such an inspiring attitude and strong faith. She could have been made bitter and resentful toward's the people of Boone's Hollow who avoided her like the plague but instead she gave them grace and loved them anyway because in her words. "they don't know any better." I also loved how we got a few parts from her P.O.V.

Bettina Webber
If we hadn't gotten to see her point of view, I don't think I would have liked her. But because the author gave us glimpses into her life, I understand why she acted the way she did and I felt compassion towards her sad life.
I was so happy with the ending and how things turned out for Bettina. She was hurting and desperately needed someone to love her and in the end, she found that.

I really enjoyed how this book wasn't just all about the romance. but so much more.
It was about love, healing, kindness & treating others the way you want to be treated. It was such a wonderful story and I enjoyed every minute of it!
Profile Image for Kattarina.
7 reviews1 follower
August 5, 2021
The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow was a story set during the Great Depression. The characters spanned from wealthy to poor and in turn, helped the reader get an understanding of how the Great Depression effected everyone, from all walks of life.

My mind went to different scenarios as I read this book and attempted to find the author’s purpose. Is this a coming of age story about a girl, named Addie, overcoming her hardship and fulfilling her purpose to become a writer and turn an angry and superstitious town around? Is this another sapping love story?

As the story played out, Kim Vogel Sawyer, decided to focus on neither scenarios, although both were addressed. Instead, her focus went to the overwhelming love of Jesus Christ. She took the most unlikable of characters and showed how Jesus is close to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

I learned more about compassion, forgiveness, and empathy from these fiction characters than I have from any recent nonfiction read on the topics. The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow was a very enjoyable novel and I look forward to reading more Kim Vogel Sawyer books in the future.
Profile Image for Avery Yoder .
40 reviews3 followers
March 23, 2023
This has been on my tbr for a while and I am glad I finally read it , cause I really enjoyed it.

My only issue is that I really didn't connect with the characters.
If I had connected with the characters and fallen in love with them it probably would have been a five-star read.
I almost liked the side characters better then the main characters. The main character Addie seemed almost to perfect at times.

Over all I really enjoyed and will be reading the second book in the series (hopefully)soon 😊
Profile Image for linda hole.
261 reviews22 followers
September 3, 2020
I am a huge huge fan of Kim vogel sawyer writing. So when a new book from her Pops up i am here for it. This book is about dreams, it is about starting over, it is about family relationship and Girls relationship. It is about changing your ways. I loved this book. The ONLY minus for.me was i wanted to know more about the hardships in the mountains. Thank you to netgalley for letting me read this e arc in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
2,043 reviews212 followers
March 5, 2021
The Librarian of Boone’s Hallow
by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Addie Cowherd gets shaken when she finds out her parents have not paid her college bills. Because of this she can’t sit for her final exams. As she unpeels the onion of that news, she discovers she will need to support herself, and possibly her parents. From there she ends out in the backwoods community of Boone’s Hollow, working as an assistant for Mrs. West, a librarian who runs a lending establishment supported by the WPA. Books are sent out by horseback for the community to borrow, read and return when their rider comes through the next time.

There have been a lot of books written on this theme in the last few years. I’m a library fan. As a consequence, I have eagerly read as many as I can get my hands on, and this one does a good job of hitting all the high points. There is conflict, concern for safety, there’s romance, revenge, the rooting out of evil, the installation of order and a gift of even more books! Where this one is different than some of the others is in its heavy Christian lean – scriptures, prayers and hymns aplenty. Even the sensitive issues are handled in a way that would please my more conservative friends and family.

Best of all, it is a story that my Shaker ancestors might say of the pages: “To turn, turn will be our delight, til by turning, turning we come round right.” I recommend it as well. It is a tale that gets your attention with all that is out of order, but as it progresses is restful and peaceful, with plenty of space for redemption and change of heart.

A sincere thanks to Kim Vogel Sawyer, WaterBrook & Multnomah, and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.

#TheLibrarianofBoonesHollow #NetGalley
Profile Image for Joleen.
2,044 reviews1,210 followers
August 8, 2021
I’m a bit biased, but I love stories set in Appalachia. I recently read a couple of books about packhorse occupations, each one different enough to be unique.

This one is set in Boone's Hollow, Kentucky, 1936. Our main character, Addie Cowherd was hired as a packhorse librarian to take books and periodicals to families who seldom made it down to town. I was actually surprised that horses were still used as a primary means of transportation anywhere at that time, but clearly in the hills of Appalachia cars were far less common.

Emmet Tharp was hired as the head librarian for his small hometown. He scheduled the horsewomen and their pack routes. Sounds simple right? Well, it was anything but! One father's disappointment, another father's loss of job, and yet another father's abuse leant critical moments to this story. On top of that, add hill-folk superstitions, feuds and prejudices and more elements bring this story to life. But one of the biggest conflicts was a young girl, Bettina, who naively waited years for Emmett to return home, dreaming he'd sweep her off her feet and away from her abusive home life.

But God had many other plans for all the residents of Boone's Hollow.

So many good lessons about judging, false impressions, and unmerited grace and forgiveness.

Not much along the line of romance, but there definitely were satisfying relationships as time went on.

Good book!
Profile Image for Kate.
1,497 reviews41 followers
August 12, 2021
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how both Addie and Emmett were determined to follow what God wanted of them, while also seeking to honour their parents' teachings. Despite the prickliness of some of the townsfolk, I actually ended up really enjoying the setting of Boone's Hollow, Kentucky as well.
Profile Image for Kirsten Burger.
215 reviews30 followers
June 30, 2022
Okay- this book took me FOREVER to finish! I had to renew it from Libby, and it's really rare that I have to do that. I think it was the beginning that took me forever to get into to. But once the story started moving, particularly when Addie arrived in Boone's Hollow, I was completely absorbed in the story! I read the last 2/3 of the book in one night.

Addie was such a sweet and compassionate character. I really enjoyed her. I loved her relationship with her parents. They had an adorable nickname for her: Adeladybug. I like how she looked to them for wisdom. I appreciated her strong faith in God and how present prayer was in the story.

Emmett was a strong lead. I liked seeing him as a student, son, coal miner, and a library director. I appreciated his relationship with his mom and brother, and even his dad.
I appreciated how he was kind to Bettina despite her behavior.

I like how the romance was just a small part of the story. It was refreshing. No one admired anyone's biceps, and there wasn't even a kissing scene. Kind of nice for a change.

Nanny Fay was a great POV too. But I have to agree with a fellow Goodreader that the ostracism from the community just didn't make sense, not for the reasons listed. Healers like Nanny Fay were highly regarded in Appalachian communities. If anything, doctors were the ones viewed as highly suspect.

Bettina was a piece of work. Sometimes her behavior just seemed far fetched. But her longing for love and acceptance tugged at my heart just enough to feel bad for her.

I love love love this setting. I grew up in the Appalachians for part of my childhood, and books like Christy and Wonderland Creek are near and dear to my heart. I have been to the Christy mission, and the father up into the mountains you get, the more you are transported back in time. People still live very remotely and even somewhat primitive compared to town. I can't imagine what it was like almost 100 yrs ago!

I have to say that KVS really swung for the fences when she came up with some of the last names for this story! (Cowherd, Clinkenheard, Donohoo)

This thought of Bettina's made me laugh: "That feller was so money hungry he'd rent out one of his own sons if somebody offered him a nickel."
Profile Image for Rebekah Morris.
Author 116 books219 followers
May 17, 2021
I had read some other books about horseback librarians and wanted to read more, so I was very eager to get my hands on this book.
I was not disappointed. Not only did I feel like I really got to know Addie and Emmett, and even Bettina, but I felt as though the small mountain town with its suspicions, rivalry, and prejudice came alive for me. I enjoyed learning about the tiny library that smelled of ham, and the difficulties of managing the worn and tattered books. The struggles of making friends and working in a place that didn’t trust anyone from the “outside” made me want to go join Addie so she’d have a friend. Emmett’s struggle of finding a job and making his father proud of him is something that I’m sure others can relate to. I really liked that prayer and returning good for evil was a big part of this story.
There are mentions of a girl being physically abused by her father (nothing shown), and of making illegal whiskey (mentioned).
It is clean and I would recommend it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 414 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.