The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
I think most people will know Jojo Moyes from the novel, Me Before You, which was made into a movie. I discovered Jojo Moyes years ago before most other people, so I’m thrilled to see how successful she has been. She has sold over 38 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 46 languages.
Her new novel, The Giver of Stars, is set in the late 1930s and follows the story of Alice Wright who leaves England after a whirlwind romance with a wealthy American, Bennett Van Cleve. She moves to Kentucky to start a new life and is expecting some adventure. But she is dismayed to discover whatever spark she had with her husband has quickly fizzled out, her father-in-law is overbearing and obnoxious, and she is even more stifled by life than she was back in England.
Thankfully she meets Margery O’Hare, who is an independent woman living life to her own rules, and Margery is setting up a library programme for the poorest in their region. So Alice volunteers to become one of their riders, riding to the most remote places delivering books. Alice discovers freedom and friendship, but when the town turns against this travelling library, Margery looks to pay a terrible price, and when Alice finds herself having feelings for a man who is not her husband, Alice considers giving up and returning to England.
Much of this novel is based on historical fact and the library is a real thing. The WPA’s Horseback Librarian programme ran from 1935 to 1943 and brought books to more than a hundred thousand rural inhabitants. It’s utterly unique and is a wonderful part of this story!
Anyone who enjoys historical fiction with strong characters, an unexpected love story and an emotional plotline will love this novel. The Giver of Stars had me reaching for some tissues near the end! It’s a fabulous read.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Published by Penguin Random House