Cover Image: The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars

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Member Reviews

What a fantastic book.  I was initially put off when I read the synopsis but was soon drawn into the novel and its characters.  Lots happening and a snapshot of a time when things were very different.
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I had high hopes for this book as I’ve enjoyed several by the author but this one just didn’t cut it for me. It felt like hard work reading it. I did finish it but wish I’d not bothered
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I love Jojo Moyes and she is possibly the only writer that could make me fall in love with historical fiction! Following a group of women who are thrust together into becoming the horseback librarians for a small rural area, this Great Depression era novel completely sucked me in. Fantastically strong female characters, friendship and books, what more could you want? Thanks Netgalley!
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A lovely, lovely book. Jojo Moyes is back on form (I’ve read a couple of hers recently that I hadn’t enjoyed as much as earlier books). I was drawn to this partly because of the librarian aspect (in our archive is a photo of staff from my area delivering library books on horseback many years ago!), and the struggles of the women in rural Kentucky made for enthralling reading.
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This is mainly a story about Alice., she is a beautiful but awkward young English girl,  Set in the 1930's , Alice becomes attracted to a young American who is travelling with his father around Europe. They are quickly married and travel to America.  Alice had seen the marriage as an escape from her mundane life in England but quickly becomes unhappy in America.  She volunteers on a programme  for women to travel on horseback to deliver library books to the isolated mountain families. The book charts the way the library becomes an escape for Alice and her unhappy home life in America.  She becomes close to the diverse group of the other librarians  and is not prepared to give her new life up.  The story is enthralling and I would really recommend this book to anyone. Jojo  Moyes has a real talent for getting under the skin of her characters and making you totally believe in them.
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JoJo Moyes has nailed it with another well researched, emotional and heartfelt story, telling the story of every day women in rural Kentucky. Women who don't quite fit in with society of the time, but who come together to create a new library branch of Packhorse Librarians to help other disadvantaged families. Based on a real, historical concept it follows the dramatic story of these fictional women, set against a beautiful, desolate landscape, and the harsh reality of gender, marriage and 1930s conservative society.

There is strife and danger, friendship and love to be found and a tale of community that weaves between all these families and brings them together, despite the odds. An amazing read, this might be my favourite Moyes book yet!
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Is it no secret I love Moyes ability to tell stories, I have read all of her books (I think) and not met one I didn't like. Set in Kentucky America, money is tight, women's priorities is the husband, home and of course knowing their place. Alice has come from England to marry her beloved Benedict, thinking she is leaving one dull existence to an exciting new one in America. Not realising she is trading like for like and bound to be disappointed. Benedict lives in his overbearing fathers shadow, the family have money and Alice better know her place. Margery is one of the most outspoken in the town, not loved and has a dodgy family history. Margery with the help of Alice and a small band of ladies are helping families with books, magazines and reading materials. The mobile library will be a godsend to some and an aberration to others, leading to an incident that will change everything for them all.

Based around a true story, the Packhorse librarians where something I had never heard of and absolutely love. A band of women, travelling around their community, up the hills, to get reading materials to families, connecting a community in ways no one would have foresaw.

It is a tale of friendship, love, abuse, greed with a mix of racism, misogyny, human endangerment with the focus on making money even if it costs humans life or limb. A mixed bag, some scenes uncomfortable, because of the era women were felt to know their place and we have some plucky characters in the book and who doesn't love a strong woman or two. Loved Moyes books and this one was no different, 4.5/5 for me, very much looking forward to the next and I will be looking into the history of the Packhorse Librarians.
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Jojo Moyes writes such incredible and unforgettable novels, she is the author of my favourite novel Me Before You and each time there is a new release by this author I know I am going to be in for a treat. The Giver of Stars is the title of her latest release and is based on a true story which appealed to me even more.
In the mountains of Kentucky where the folk are struggling due to the Great Depression a group of ladies come together to form a Mobile Library on horseback. Margery O’Hare doesn’t follow the society rules and is a very strong willed woman who leads the team of women in their little business they become so passionate and proud of. Alice Van Cleve is a young English woman who has recently arrived after marrying the well known Bennett and after struggling to find her place in society, much to the disapproval of her husband and father inlaw decides to join the women and work as one of the horse back Librarians. The woman soon began to see that not everyone agreed with the idea of the mobile library and they would meet a whole host of challenges in their way.
I found myself completely immersed in this storyline and the women’s bravery, courage and determination was commendable. Each and every one of the women who were involved in the Horseback Library were such determined and proud women who were not afraid of hard work and at times put their own safety at risk just to be able to support their community. The characters were developed incredibly well and the friendship and solidarity that was bult between the women was wonderful to see. 
The storyline felt deep and raw as it contained so many different hardships and struggles effect nit just these strong women but also people in their community whose lives the women touched. The author writes with such detail that I could easily picture everything in my mind and I am absolutely certain that this novel will be hitting our screens at some point as it was so vivid and intriguing it had me captivated from start to finish so it would be great to see this made into a film.
This is one of those novels that will stick in my mind for a long time to come and it certainly sparked my interest in The Pack Horse Library Project that the minute I finished this novel I was googling to find out more and was amazed at the information and pictures that I found.
What a remarkable read, if you are looking for a novel with depth, solidarity, friendship and determination at the core then this novel will not disappoint you.
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Based on a true story about the Kentucky pack horse librarians,  The Giver of stars is a book about friendship, loyalty, love, ambition. and how to overcome hurdles in the face of adversity.  Sadly am not a fan of historical fiction type books and found this to be a little slow and at times very hard going and would never have picked it up had it not been for the author's name.  Not my favourite book from Jojo Moyes but I can still appreciate the excellent writing and strong characters.  Many thanks to netgalley for an arc in return for my honest opinion.
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I admit to reading this book purely because it’s about women like me- librarians. Though I’ve never had to deliver books on horseback while dodging bullets in the snow, or repair books in a barn while white supremacists try and knock the door down, I am a proponent of “every book its reader and every reader their book”. And this book is a testament to the power of literature to educate and comfort, and the unique power that libraries have to open up the world. The book deals with subjects like women’s education, segregation, domestic abuse, wealth inequality and deprived rural communities; it also features romance, dances, picture shows, motor cars, and donkeys. This book transports its reader to the heart of a complex community, which we experience at the same pace as the protagonist. I would be proud to call its cast of women my colleagues; it’s too bad I have to work in the 21st century.
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The Giver of Stars is unlike other books I’ve written by Jojo Moyes, and i think is far superior to her previous books, which seems to go against the grain of some other reviews I’ve seen. 
It’s not in her usual style of the “Me Before You” books, so be warned if you are after something similar. Instead The Giver of Stars is historical fiction, based in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky in the 1930’s. The descriptions of the scenery and the colourful characters really drew me in and made me want to just carry on reading. Real life sadly got in the way, so I had to put the book down now and then, or I could quite happily have just read all day. 

The stories of the different characters, and the bonds of friendship that grow between the female characters in particular, is heart warming. It does make you realise what we as females may take for granted nowadays, and what females had to go through in the past before we were seen as equals. Be prepared to go on an emotional rollercoaster; lots of highs and also lots of incredibly moving and poignant moments. 

Beautiful and rich writing, wonderful nature, and lots of secrets and intrigue - this book does have it all. Strongly recommend to everyone looking for a good book to lose yourself in. Be prepared to love it, particularly if you enjoy historical fiction. I definitely can't wait to read more like this from Jojo Moyes. 

With many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin U.K - Michael Joseph for the opportunity to read this ARC, in return for an honest and unbiased review.
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Quite enjoyed this one. I think the premise is fantastic - women becoming part of the packhorse library and delivering essentially education to people who would be without it otherwise - a piece of history I hadn't heard of and I'm sure many others won't have either. Following on from that, I found the sections of the book dealing with the books and people they are delivered to really good - there are some fantastic characters in the mountains who the librarians come across. I also liked the characters of the librarians themselves. However, there was a lot of (what I felt to be) unnecessary drama throughout leading to a feeling of there being far too many different storylines in place. I think I would have enjoyed this more if there were a couple less of these bits of drama - felt a bit like a box-ticking exercise that the book had to deal with sexism, racism, religion, rich vs poor etc (obviously all of these would have been things that the real packhorse librarians would have seen but the author seemed to want to solve all of them too). I also hated the ending, and a lot rests on the ending of a book for me - it's just one short chapter in which every character gets a little paragraph wrapping up their loose ends and this is just not a good ending for me. I didn't have a problem with the main romance between Alice and Fred - it was very slow which I liked as I often find romances (especially in books that are not specifically a romance) too rushed but I felt that this storyline in particular deserved a much better ending than the little paragraph you get in the last chapter. Overall, might recommend to fans of Jojo Moyes but probably not to anyone after the historical fiction element.
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Please note that this book is not for me - I have read the book, However I had to DNF and because i do not like to give negative reviews I will not review this book fully - there is no specific reason for not liking this book. I found it a struggle to read and did not enjoy trying to force myself to read this book.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused and thank you for the opportunity to read this book
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The Giver of Stars - JoJo Moyes

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. 

Remember that massive list of ARCS from Netgalley I mentioned earlier? This was another one of those.

Unlike the rest of the world it seems, I don't have all that much experience with Jojo Moyes, in fact this is only the third book of hers that I've read. Honestly, though I think this might be one of her best and I've now come to the conclusion that I much prefer her historical fiction to her contemporary fiction.

Plus, I mean, this is set in an era of history that I don't know an awful lot about which made it super interesting, it takes place in the southern states of the USA - which seem to be the best places for stories and to top it off, it's a historical fiction about books, I was sold!

Basically, this follows a group of women who are running one of the packhorse libraries that Eleanor Roosevelt set up during her husband's tenure as president. I didn't know that these were a thing, but it's made me want to find out more about them and of course Mrs Roosevelt, she sounds like a fascinating lady! While they are running the library, we also get to find out more about a series of different women and how they see the world around them. A world, which sadly, is very much run by the men of the town. Each of the women the story follows are so well rounded and beautifully fleshed out and it was fascinating to see their different points of view. Alice being from England saw this tiny Kentucky town very differently to Beth and Izzy who had lived there their whole lives and Sophia, being a black woman had another point of view entirely. Out of all the ladies in the book, I was especially drawn to Margery, a woman after my own heart and way before her time. She was so self assured and fiercely independent and I loved her sections, particularly when we got to see her open up and start to count the women she worked with as her friends.

This has really made me want to read more Jojo Moyes, so be sure to leave me a recommendation down below! Because it has been on my Netgalley shelf for so long, this is out in the world now for everyone to enjoy, so if you like historical fictions, books about female friendships and of course, books about books, make sure to pick this one up.
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Moyes always tugs at the heartstrings. I’m so glad that I got to read this before it went stellar. Everyone I know is talking about it. Definitely recommended.
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I loved this book. A group of Horseback librarians delivering books and helping their community. Great to have strong female characters. 

This is book that I could not put down and went through every emotion possible.
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I was slightly nervous going into this one as the last JoJo Moyes book I read nearly destroyed me and made me run out of tissues. When I started this it took me a while to get into. Not because the book wasn't good, because it was, but because I had gone into this blind I hadn't realised it was a historical romance and this is a genre I tend to struggle with. That being said this one was very well written and the fact that it was based on a true story made this more special.

Set in the US Depression era the characters were strong and fierce and this was definitely written with passion as the descriptions on this historical era were very clear and rich. It touched on some very vital issues that surrounded women and the people at that time, racism, sexism, exploitation and the classes.
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Such an easy book to read. Based on an actual historical entity, this story about the packhouse librarians is full of great storytelling, diverse, realistic female characters and a dramatic unforgiving setting, that underlines what they achieved. A true pioneering story it draws you in and holds onto you. Not an easy book to put down.

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK - Michael Joseph in return for an honest review.
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I am yet to read a JoJo Moyes book that hasn’t blown me away, and this one is no different.
I don’t usually get on with historical novels,  but my love for the author encourages me to try something out of my comfort zone.  This beautifully written and dramatic story kept me reading long into the night and I also felt like I gained a bit of history too. 

4 stars
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Another sweet and enchanting book. I find Jojo Moyes's writing so readable and love that you get to know these characters so intimately.
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