Book Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes


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.


The Giver of Stars was a March pick for the Autumnal Tints Book Club and it was my first time reading Jojo Moyes. I’m going to start off with the one thing that majorly bugged me because if you can get passed it the story is well worth it. If there was an award for most commas used in place of periods Mrs. Moyes would win. If reading full on paragraphs that have no end in sight, and won’t come to a close, with an overuse of commas, then you will love this book, assuming you like to read, and in that case you’re good to go. ::sorry I had to:: I digress.

Run on sentences aside, I adored this story. I’d never heard of the Pack Horse Library and quickly saw myself volunteering had I lived in that era. Is there anything more badass than a group of strong women, braving the elements on horseback to deliver literature to remote areas? I think not. Jojo did a great job at detailing the trials of such an endeavor while also painting a picture of the social standards that conflicted with such strong womanly roles. It is a heartfelt tale about human connection and a love of literature.

Another highlight for me were all the sub plots within the book. It really helped the pace and flow of the story while also adding to the character arcs. There is an overall theme that books can bring communities together and it made for a great book club choice. Sub themes of daring to be brave and sticking to what you believe in are also incredibly inspiring. My favorite character is Margery. She’s a fierce protector of not wielding who she was in order to fit in. She reminds me of my Aunt Sherry and I found myself rooting for her immediately.

Within our Zoom meeting for the A.T. Book Club, most of us discussed how little we knew about this program. We talked a lot about:

  • the overall theme of how important literature is to our history
  • how the book was so detailed, we could see the story play out in our minds like a movie
  • gratitude: how lucky we are to be able to read and have access to infinite amount of books
  • the idea that acts of compassion and love can ripple through a community if we dared to be brave
  • what we want our lives to be vs what others think our lives should be

We were all in agreement that this book warrants a recommendation and a few of us even cried at certain points of the story. You should read this book if you’re looking to be inspired, crave sisterhood, and want to see what the power of literature can do for a community.


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Absolutely it did. Go read it.

Have you read it? Comment below and let me know what you think or if this review provoked you to read it. If you’re new here and want to join a book club, I cordially invite you to join us here.

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