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Book Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

It’s been a great year for ‘first’s’ so far this year. I have discovered some fantastic new authors, including this latest read by Jojo Moyes – The Giver of Stars. It’s out in a few weeks, so you don’t have long to wait!

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Genre: Historical Fiction

BUG Rating: 5/5

Overall: Remarkable story of five incredible and diverse women – based on a true story. The horseback library of 1930s Kentucky is a powerful story of bravery, friendship and love. Set in the great depression era, this book touches all the important subjects of the time; issues of racism, class, women’s rights. It was a totally remarkable, magical even, story which I was fully immersed into and still plays on my mind. It’s emotional in parts, so have your tissues ready – truly an amazing read.

You know what’s really the wonderful about those fireflies? […] Sure, they live for just a few weeks. Not much at all in the grand scheme of things. But while they’re there, the beauty of them, well, it takes your breath away […] You get to see the world in a whole new way. And then you have that beautiful picture burned onto the inside of your head. To carry it wherever you go. And never forget it.


England, late 1930s, and Alice Wright – restless, stifled – makes an impulsive decision to marry wealthy American Bennett Van Cleve and leave her home and family behind.

But stuffy, disapproving Baileyville, Kentucky, where her husband favours work over his wife and is dominated by his overbearing father, is not the adventure – or the escape – that she hoped for.

That is, until she meets Margery O’Hare, a troublesome woman – and daughter of a notorious felon – the town wishes to forget.

Margery’s on a mission to spread the wonder of books and reading to the poor and lost – and she needs Alice’s help.

Trekking alone under big open skies, through wild mountain forests, Alice, Margery and their fellow sisters of the trail discover freedom, friendship – and a life to call their own.

But when the town turns against them, will their belief in one another – and the power of the written word – be enough to save them? 

Inspired by a remarkable true story, The Giver of Stars features five incredible women who will prove to be every bit as beloved as Lou Clark, the unforgettable heroine of Me Before You.

This book took me longer to get through. Yes, it was around 50 pages longer than the usual ones, but mainly because I just wanted to get totally lost in the characters and the story – I really didn’t want it to finish.

As an avid reader and lover of books, this book meant SO much to me. The story centres around five incredibly inspiring women who challenged the role of women during the 1930s. They were not going to be *just* housewives. They wanted more and inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s desires to bring education/books to the poorer and more remote parts of Kentucky, they set up the Horseback Travelling  Library (based on a true story!).

The book highlights the racial strains of the time, through the segregated ‘library for coloured’ and how they were courageous enough to challenge even that, with employing the smart and wonderful Sophia in their library. They also face attempts of library closure, due to the men challenging that the women are forgetting their place. The story follows as they overcome many obstacles and roadblocks. I won’t say anymore!

To touch on the characters – Moyes has created such a cast of rich and unique characters. I loved Margery O’Hare, who is often at the centre of the town’s ‘scandals’. She is brave, determined, independent – and will not conform to society. I also love the dynamics between her and her partner Sven but also one of the other Horseback girls, Alice, who is English, and in some ways the total opposite to Margery.

I was totally immersed into the story, the time, and loved every minute of this book. It flowed so beautifully and was such a powerful story. I would recommend to it every one – regardless of sex. This is a powerful story!

I received a free advanced copy of this book from Michael Joseph Penguin in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions are my own. 

Copyright 2020