About The Giver of Stars
Alice had come halfway across the world to find that, yet again, she was considered wanting. Well, she thought, if that was what everyone thought, she might as well live up to 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 - daughter of a notorious felon and a troublesome woman 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 Baileyville 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.
My review of The Giver of Stars
I loved, LOVED this book so much. I can't stop thinking about this story, about these five courageous women and the story they had to tell. I didn't want to say goodbye to them or to the 1930s backdrop of Baileyville, Kentucky. What an absolutely stunning, absorbing and emotional story. I can't praise it highly enough.
Set in 1937 after the Great Depression, we read about the first travelling librarians, who deliver books and magazines to the rural community, who would otherwise never receive such reading material, other than the Bible. The story was inspired by the real life Pack Horse Librarians of Virginia, all women who dedicated their time to delivering books via horseback up and down the mountains. The story involves a group of women, all from different backgrounds, but whom all want to educate and bring the community together. It's a book about women empowering other women, standing up for their rights and for each other.
We have Margery O'Hare, a woman who is fiercely independent and who sets up the library. She does exactly what she wants and does not conform to society's rules or expectations, and I loved her for this. I especially enjoyed her interactions with Sven, (we all need a Sven in our lives). We also have Alice van Cleve, a newly married woman who has left England to start a new life with Bennett, her American husband, but her life doesn't turn out as she expected and her only comfort and stability is to be found in the library and the women she meets there.
The Giver of Stars is beautifully written. The characters come to life on the page, and I had a real sense offense it must be like to live in this claustrophobic society. This is a story about how women support other women. About friendship and love and doing the right thing. It's a story with so much heart and feeling and with characters that you just can't help falling in love with. It's about prejudices formed and broken and that wit the right support system you can overcome any obstacle. I loved this story and it's one I will read again and again. All the stars.
With thanks to the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy.
The Giver of Stars is published by Michael Joseph on 3rd October.