This book quickly found it's way into my heart. Strong female protagonists fighting against the patriarchy, with a bookish concept? Jojo Moyes had me after the first few chapters. Set in rural Kentucky in the early 1930's, The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes centers around the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Packhorse Librarians, an initiative under the Roosevelt administration to increase literacy rates in rural areas.
Alice moves to Kentucky with her new groom, Bennet Van Cleve, which is a far cry from the English country she hails from. Margery marches to the beat of her own drum and refuses to be tied down by any man. She is the epidemy of crushing the patriarchy, 1930's wild mountain woman style. Izzy is a rule following daughter and home body, with a disability that affects her gait, which she got as a result of contracting polio as a child. Beth is the definition of a tom boy, running, smoking, and fighting with her brothers. Sophia is a mild mannered Black woman, who makes an effort not to toe the line with her white neighbors, in fear of retaliation. All of these women come together to make the WPA Packhorse Librarian crew, bringing books via horseback to the hollers and mountain ranges of rural Kentucky.
This book was a breath of fresh air and I found myself lost in the stories of these strong women. In true Jojo Moyes fashion, there was a little drama and suspense, but the story was packed with plot lines that kept me intrigued. The Giver of Stars will make for a great book club discussion. I highly recommend The Giver of Stars to those who are fans of Jojo Moyes and Kristin Hannah. If you loved The Great Alone, Where the Crawdads Sing, and The Nightingale, you will love this one.
Book Club Discussion Questions:
Which character(s), if any, did you connect with and why?
What topics of race and women's equality were addressed in the book that are still applicable today/current conversations of topic?
Were you familiar with the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky prior to reading this novel?
The Little Women played a major role in the plot line. Discuss the similarities between The Giver of Stars and Little Women.
What is your theory on Clem McCullough's death?
There was a fair amount of controversy over this book and it's similarities to The Book Women of Troublesome Creek. Has anyone read The Book Women of Troublesome Creek? If so, how do they compare and what are your thoughts?
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