Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway: The Giver of Stars

By Melissa Amster

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 Horseback Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them--and to the men they love--becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers, they’re committed to their job--bringing books to people who have never had any, sharing the gift of learning that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope. At times funny, at others heartbreaking, this is 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.
(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I've mainly read the Me Before You trilogy and One Plus One, all taking place during the present time. So this novel felt different in comparison to what I was used to from Jojo Moyes. However, she has proven she can write beautifully about different time periods.

The Giver of Stars was engaging and difficult to put down. The story was very interesting. I never knew about the traveling libraries until now. I liked that Jojo included multiple perspectives instead of only focusing on Alice. The camaraderie between the women was enjoyable to read about, as well. Some aspects reminded me of what today's society is like.

This novel is perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah and Ellen Marie Wiseman, as well as anyone who loves a good story. I definitely recommend checking it out for a cozy night in front of a fire this autumn. (If it will ever cool off in some places!)

Movie casting suggestions:
Alice: Lily James
Bennett: Armie Hammer
Margery: Alana De La Garza
Fred: David Harbour
Sven: Joel Kinnaman
Izzy: ZoƩ De Grand Maison
Mr. Van Cleve: William H. Macy

Thanks to Viking for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have one copy to give away. 

Check out an excerpt from an interview Viking did with Jojo Moyes:

THE GIVER OF STARS is based on the true story of the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. How did you discover this piece of history?
I was reading an edition of the Smithsonian Magazine online and came across an extraordinary series of pictures of women on horseback. They were on rough, mountainous terrain, clutching parcels of books, gazing out proudly. I read the accompanying text, about the real-life horseback librarians of Kentucky, and knew immediately that I wanted to write a book about them.

Libraries play a key role in THE GIVER OF STARS, and keen readers will notice you often include a library in your novels. Why are libraries so meaningful to you?
I was built in a library. My parents didn’t have much money when I was growing up so the weekly visit to the local library was a key part of my education, and my love of reading. Libraries are one of the few resources where people can be sheltered, educated and entertained without having to pay, and it pains me that they are under such threat. Without knowledge, people have fewer opportunities to move upwards.

Literacy and censorship are huge issues in THE GIVER OF STARS, something that affects the women of the novel very differently from the men. Why did you choose to focus on these issues, and do you feel they are still relevant today?

I think they’ve never been more relevant. We live in an age where the very notions of truth and facts are under attack—without knowledge we are prey to anyone who can work up a smart speech. Without knowledge women have little control over their own bodies. There are numerous ways in this book in which the acquisition of knowledge changes lives—protecting their homes, educating their families, liberating themselves from marriages.

THE GIVER OF STARS is your first novel following the Me Before You trilogy. How did it feel to step away from characters you’ve been writing for so long?
It was tough leaving Louisa behind, but I fell so hard in love writing this book that from the moment I arrived in Kentucky I pretty much forgot her. I have never enjoyed writing a book like I enjoyed writing this one: I wrote when I was meant to be on holiday, at weekends, whenever I could spare half an hour to sit down. I didn’t want to leave it, or these women. That rarely happens. So in that respect it was the loveliest way to leave Me Before You behind.

What are the main themes of the book? What do you want people to take away from reading THE GIVER OF STARS?
I wanted to write a book about women who had agency, and did worthwhile things, rather than simply existing in a romantic or domestic plotline. These women achieved epic things, and, more importantly, supported each other while doing it. I reject the constantly pushed narrative that says women must always be in competition with each other; in my experience other women have been my greatest friends and supports and I wanted to show that. Mostly I want to entertain and transport the reader a little, to make them laugh and cry. I really hope readers enjoy reading THE GIVER OF STARS as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Giveaway ends October 15th at midnight EST.

28 comments:

LoriF said...

This book sounds awesome. I adore historical fiction. Anything that increases my knowledge level makes me happy. Looking forward to reading this.

Margie Shaw said...

I would love a chance to read this now that I’ve heard so much about it. Thanks for the chance!

Nina said...

This sounds great! The last book I checked out from the library was The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware.

Michelle L said...

The last book I checked out from the library was The Crossing, by Michael Connelly. I'm curious about this book, and how similar it is to one of my favorite books of 2019, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.

Tracy Wirick said...

Honestly I can’t remember the last book I checked out from the library. I don’t frequent library’s because we don’t have many in my area. I buy books from Amazon or free e-books. I do think the last book I checked out years ago it was by Ann Rule because I love true crime

traveler said...

The last book I checked out from the library was A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier.

Linda May said...

It's been so long ago I can't remember. Thanks for this amazing giveaway.

Nancy Payette said...

I don't recall. Think might have been music I had checked out. This sounds fabulous. Thanks for the opportunity.

Mary C said...

Sins Of The Father by J. A. Jance

Suzy said...

There've been so many books that I recently checked out. The first one I'm going to read from the batch is The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin.

Rita Wray said...

It's been so long I don't remember. I think it was a political book I wanted to read but didn't want to buy.

Mary Preston said...

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE by Bill Bryson

miriama said...

The woman in the window

jtmswim said...

Sorry to say that it has been more years than I can remember since I checked any books out of a library. I am an avid reader and prefer to purchase my own copies, currently only eBooks due to space constraints. Thanks for this chance to win this book.

diannekc said...

I can't remember the last book I checked out of the library. I usually buy the books I want to read.

Peggy Russo said...

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

rbooth43 said...

The last book I checked out from my library was The Witness by Nora Roberts, so good! I would love to read The Giver Of Stars! Thanks for the chance!

Kelley B said...

The Testaments!

Lori Thomas said...

Could not say. I have not been to the library in quite some time.

Emily Catan said...

Haven't read any books by JoJo Moyes, and I would love to have a chance to read them. Thank you for the giveaway.

Laura Di Giovine said...

I love Jojo's books! This sounds fascinating. The last book I checked out of the library was "Three Women" and "The Dutch House."

Tatum Rangel said...

"My Friend Anna," by Rachel DeLoache Williams.

Bonnie K. said...

The last book I checked out from the library was How To Walk Away by Katherine Center.

bn100 said...

can't remember

Julie said...

The last book I checked out was The Silent Patient.

arletta said...

I never check out just one at a time! One of the FOUR I currently have out is "The Shortest Way Home" by Miriam Parker.

Elizabeth G said...

I use CloudLibrary to check out books all of the time. The last one was Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny.

Carole said...

Waiting on this one. Looking forward to it. Cheers