This book stuck with me. It inspired a trip to the mountains of Kentucky, horseback riding in the cold and some great comfort foods!
by Jojo Moyesnarrated by Julia Whelan
set in eastern Kentucky, 1930s
Book Rating: 5/5
British born Alice is adrift in the mountains of depression era Kentucky as well as her confounding new marriage. In a quick paced turn of events, Alice finds herself volunteering to be a pack horse librarian. Moyes composes a magical journey about a young woman finding her place in the world, the meaning of friends and true love. She does all this while paying homage to the power of the written word and the mountain librarians of Kentucky. I found the historical references fascinating. By weaving books profoundly throughout the story, Moyes shares a subtle but determined reminder that we not take their literary knowledge, nor libraries, for granted. I loved Stars and I recommend it to almost everyone. I will reread this book and as it was my first book by Moyes, I will be picking up her other works.
Audiobook Rating: 5/5 I really enjoyed Julia Whelan’s performance in The Giver of Stars. Her character definition was amazing! The way she brought each person to life with accents and inflection was incredibly gratifying. Let’s face it- audiobooks can be expensive but this one is worth every penny!
The dense mountains of Kentucky are both beautiful and humbling. Being from Florida, I braved the cold of January to explore the setting for The Giver of Stars. I have a whole new appreciation for the packhorse librarians’ dedication and passion for getting books out to the far reaches of their world. I was wearing three pairs of pants and two pairs of socks inside my shearling boots and I was still freezing during horseback riding! Not to mention, it was a mere hour long ride. These ladies were tough! To see more about my trip, click here.
Photos from History Daily and part of the Goodman-Paxton Photographic Collection, Kentucky Digital Library.
Women’s Home Companion Magazine
This is the magazine mentioned multiple times in The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. As you can imagine, living in the back country hills of Kentucky during the Great Depression was hard and merciless. Food was scarce, poverty abounded. As a woman, days were long and filled with scrubbing laundry by hand, gardening, cleaning, sewing and making meals with what little you had for often very large families. Most mountain Kentucky men worked long days or nights in the dangerous coal mines. These magazines provided patterns, household budgeting tips, child care advice and recipes among many other topics. Being able to loan them for free from traveling book libraries that came right to your door must have been a Godsend for these tenacious women.
Alice’s English Cottage Pie
Pork and Black Bean Stew
Swedish Christmas Cookies
The Only Pie Dough You Will Ever Need
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