From Goodreads: “Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You and The Peacock Emporium. 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 travelling 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.“
Wow what an amazing story and what a fabulous audiobook! I’ve been wanting to read this latest release from Jojo Moyes, ever since I saw she had a new book coming out. I borrowed this from the library’s digital catalogue via the rbdigital app.
I’m so glad I listened to the audiobook narrated by Julia Whelan, as I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed it as much if I’d read it. This audiobook swept me away to Kentucky as soon as I started it.
I loved listening to the story of the women from the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. Jojo Moyes writing took me off to the mountains and the small town of Baileyville where certain men ruled the town with their lies and the women stayed in their place for fear of the consequences.
Margery O’Hare the lead librarian and general outsider, was definitely a women who didn’t like to be put into a box of any sort, and Alice a newly wed from England who joins the library doesn’t know what to make of her. Alice came from a society circle that she didn’t fit into back in Surrey, thinking she was going to escape the dull life of tea parties and society gossip in Kentucky. Unfortunately, she finds herself in a similar situation and is desperate to join the library and escape the claustrophobia of her father-in-law’s home.
What follows is the highs and lows of the librarians as they ride up and down the mountain meeting it’s inhabitants. sometimes they are welcomed and sometimes they are scared off, but it’s never a dull moment wherever they go.
As well as there exploits on horseback, JoJo Moyes also tells the stories of their personal lives outside of the library, stories that are made me laugh, made me angry, well up with tears and cheer along. These ladies became real heroines to me as they struggled to deliver the books to dwellers of the mountain and fought off the small mindedness of the residents of Baileyville.
Julia Whelan’s narration was absolutely perfect, she brought all the characters to life so expertly that I forgot I was listening to one woman reading. She is definitely going on to my favourite narrators list now.
This is another favourite book for me this year and one I would listen to again in a moment. I highly recommend it on audio so you can enjoy it as much as I did.