Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021 – Book 20

Prompt: A book in a different format to what you usually read

I used to have a long commute to work – sometimes over an hour each way – and listened to audiobooks in the car on the way. Having changed jobs, my commute is now less than 15 minutes drive on a good day. Before cancelling my Audible subscription two years ago, I used up.my credits and still have half a dozen books to listen to. So this prompt was a great way to use up a credit. I picked The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes which I have heard so many good things about.

What it’s about?

Alice Wright doesn’t love her new American husband.

Nor her domineering father-in-law or the judgmental townsfolk of Baileyville, Kentucky.

Stifled and misunderstood, she yearns for escape and finds it in defiant Margery O’Hare and the sisterhood bringing books to the isolated and vulnerable.

But when her father-in-law and the town turn against them, Alice fears the freedom, friendship and the new love she’s found will be lost . . .

What I think:

What a book!

I absolutely loved it and was thoroughly invested the lives of the Pack Horse Librarians of Baileyville.

Alice falls in love with Bennett Van Cleeve and leaves life in England behind to head off for pastures new in Kentucky. While the Van Cleeves are wealthy and influential, Baileyville is a far cry from the society Alice is used to.

She struggles to find a place for herself in the town, and her isolation is increased as her marriage begins to falters and her relationship with her father-in-law becomes more difficult.

Alice finds friendship and freedom when she volunteers to join the team of female librarians travelling around the rural county on horseback. Sharing books, magazines and articles, the library becomes invaluable to the poor mountain community. But still faces its challenges as the librarians fight against prejudice in all it’s forms in a town where loyalties and rivalries run deep.

This is an extraordinary book. The friendship between Alice and Margery builds slowly as they begin to realise that they have more in common than they appear to.

I was absolutely rooting for Alice and Margery throughout the book.

This was a fantastic, atmospheric read that gives an evocative insight into the life of small towns and rural communities in 1930s America. Wonderful! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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