I have to admit, I was a little reluctant in picking up the newest title from Jojo Moyes.  I did love Me Before You but haven't really loved much that she has written since (please tell me if I'm wrong about this).  However when I read the inside cover of this new title, I was captivated.  The story of a traveling library in 1937 - run entirely by women.  I was intrigued.  I picked up this book at the Northshire bookstore in Manchester, VT and read it in three days.  The Giver of Stars is truly a gift to all of us.  

This is the story of Alice Wright, wa young Englishwoman who meets a handsome American boy, Bennett Van Cleve, while he and his father are on a church mission in England.  She is immediately smitten and also intrigued by a life in America and all the excitement it holds.  Alice is eager to escape her dull life in England and to break free from the clutches of her parents.  Little does she know that she is moving to one of the poorest areas of Eastern Kentucky.  Her father-in-law, George Van Cleve, is a wealthy coal mine owner and all that comes with that. Alice finds herself a little surprised to be living with both her husband and her widowed father in a house that is a museum to the late Mrs. Van Cleve.  ANd she soon realizes that she is not the woman her parents raised her to be, one that appreciates the finer things in life.  Alice most cetainly didn't come to American to needlepoint, bake pies and attend church meetings.

It is at one of these meetings that she attends with Bennett when she hears about the WPA Packhouse Library of Kentucky.  President Frankin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor started the program so that people in rural America would have the opportunity to read and to become more literate.  A woman named Margery - the toughest mountain born woman is looking for volunteers.  Margery who at the time seems like she might be Alice's complete opposite.

Much to the disgust of her father-in-law, Alice signs on to help. The job changes her life in more ways then she will ever imagine.  Alice soon realizes that she never wanted the job of a white-collar housewife but rather longs to be out in the mountains doing some good for others.  

Soon there are five of them.  Five women whose lives will be changed forever by the impact they have on their community. 

This is a story of the true and unbreakable friendships of women. It is a story of love, loyalty and loss.  The Giver of Stars is based on a true story, the WPA Packhouse Library which existed in rural Eastern Kentucky from 1935-1943.  It is the story of women slowly rising to places of importance, making a difference in the community, paving the path for the future of women everywhere.  

The Giver of Stars is an excellent book to start your 2020 year with.  Enjoy!  

The Giver of Stars

Jojo Moyes

Publication Date: October 9, 2019

Pamela Dorman Books

Viking Publishers