The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve and leaves behind her stifling life in England for a new adventure in Kentucky. When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt's new travelling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, Margery, and Alice will be joined by three diverse women and become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. What happens to these women - and to the men they love - becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion.
Publisher: [New York] : Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, ♭2019.
ISBN: 9780399562488
Characteristics: 390 pages ;,25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 22, 2021

I thought it would be a very light, happy-go-lucky, interesting read about all the good work the Depression era packhorse librarians did for their Kentucky community, which the book certainly accomplished, but this book is really much, much more than that. It's a story of an English woman and Kentucky women from all kinds of backgrounds ---- their lives, triumphs, hardships and overcoming them. I really applaud the author for creating a fascinating group of female characters of whom I truly grew fond, especially the main characters Alice and Margery. These women's task of bringing books to their community changes each one in individual ways, giving them a purpose, compass, strength and grit. The book does go into some dark areas of life which surprised me but also kept me turning the pages to find out how things would turn out for them. The reader will thus get a big of punch of reality as the book is not a sunny walk down a flowered path. Yet it is one of the best stories I have read all year. Absolutely brilliant story telling and worth reading. This book exceeded all my expectations.

Feb 17, 2021

Recommended by Daphne

JCLRachelN Feb 01, 2021

This was a fascinating story set during Kentucky’s time of Pack Horse librarians. I enjoyed getting to know each of the librarians and quickly became invested in their lives as they started the traveling library, warmed up members of their community to the idea of the library with each visit, and became like family to each other. This might be a re-read for me!

Jan 18, 2021

I enjoyed this book though it drug a little in the beginning. I especially love how strong the main character became in her life, and was amused at the characters she met along the way. Totally fun read. Definitely recommend.

Jan 14, 2021

I give 4 1/2 stars to THE GIVER OF STARS, an excellent work of historic fiction. Author Jojo Moyes captures the sights, sounds, and feel of Depression-era Kentucky, particularly the attitudes and social mores of the time. Six incredible women are at the heart of the story. As members of the Pack Horse Librarians, a real-life WPA (Works Progress Administration) project, they face multiple challenges, including class, racism, misogyny, and abuse. These characters are well-drawn, with distinct personalities, and over the course of the novel, I came to care about each of them. Their stories are told against the beautiful backdrop of the rural Kentucky mountains. This poignant drama of friendship, injustice, mystery, and romance is sure to become a classic.

Jan 03, 2021

This is a beautifully written story with characters that are developed in such a way that you can lose yourself in this wonderful story. I loved this book. One of the top books I read in 2020 - and I read a lot like most of us! Kind of reminded me of the writing in Where the Crawdads Sing. I am now exploring her other books and finding much the same wonderful stories and character development. What an amazing find to stumble over at the Alpine Library!

Dec 28, 2020

One of the best books I've read in a long time. I cried a bunch so you know it's a good read. Highly recommend!

Dec 21, 2020

This was an interesting book and informative regarding the Packhorse Library in Kentucky. It had great character development and a solid plot; however, it tends to run long, and about 3/4 of the way through, I was wishing for a conclusion.

Dec 19, 2020

Well-researched book about the women packhorse librarians of Kentucky in the 1930's, part of Eleanor Roosevelt's new traveling library. The novel focuses on the relationships of these women librarians in the small town of Baileyville, and that's really what makes this story so readable - each woman has her own personality and capabilities, and there is a strong sense of loyalty among them. I easily became involved in each woman's personal story, especially the two main characters Alice and Margery. The novel presents the limitations of women's roles during this time, especially in a small southern mining town, and then the plot develops to show how the women overcome many of these limitations.

Themes of power, trust, growth, friendship, and standing up for what is right are woven into the compelling plot, and the reader will be rewarded with a satisfying story as love and justice prevails.

AnnabelleLee27 Dec 16, 2020

An historical fiction/romance with a great premise and interesting setting. Characters were not complex and largely predictable against the melodramatic action. Overall a non-challenging, light, and enjoyable read.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Jan 14, 2021

“I worked it out sitting here. Maybe that’s the thing we need to understand, Alice. That some things are a gift, even if you don’t get to keep them.”
There was a silence before he spoke again.
“Maybe just to know that something this beautiful exists is all we can really ask for.” - pp. 308 & 309

Jan 14, 2021

“There is always a way out of a situation. Might be ugly. Might leave you feeling like the earth has gone and shifted under your feet. But you are never trapped, Alice. You hear me? There is always a way around.” - p. 188

ArapahoeKathy Jan 13, 2021

Life is complicated. Which is why finding a little joy where you can is important.

Feb 14, 2020

"Look outwards, Alice," Margery would say, her voice carrying on the breeze. "Not much point worrying what the town thinks about you--nothing you can do about that anyway. But when you look outwards, why, there's a whole world of beautiful things."


Add a Summary
Feb 20, 2021

Depression era. Women involved in Eleanor Roosevelt's WPA Packhorse Library. 390 p.
Sr Ctr list for Sept 2021

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top