Given what I knew of this author, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book. It turned out that I REALLY enjoyed this book. It was set during one of my favorite times periods in U.S. History - The Great Depression. The story centered around a traveling library that was created as part of the WPA and the women who ran that library. It represented the perfect combination of history and fiction. There was just enough history to reflect the reality of the time period, including, union organization (and union-busting), the WPA, and a heap of the social history of Kentuckian life of that time. Also, the story was sentimental and engaging without the hokeyness that often accompanies this type of fiction. One of my favorite books of the year thus far.
From the publisher, “Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve, hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.
The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.
What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.
Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.”