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The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Before I touch on The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, I want to confess that I didn’t actually read it, I listened to it! This book was my introduction to audiobooks and I must say, I am definitely a fan. As someone who enjoys reading before bed, but often finds themselves nodding off after just a few pages, listening is a welcome alternative that is quite relaxing. I can tune in for about a half hour or so before I am lulled to sleep. Audible Canada lets you set a timer so that after a certain increment of time, it tapers off and you don’t have to worry about waking up and turning it off manually. This feature was probably one of the biggest selling factors for me - total game changer!

Now for my thoughts on the book, The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes…

The Giver of Stars is the third book I’ve read by Jojo Moyes. I appreciate how easy and effortless it is to read, or in this case, listen to her work. In my experience so far, her books are the definition of a “light read”. They have relatable characters, a steady plot pace, and there is a great sense of purpose in the end that is so fulfilling.

In the late 1930’s a English woman, Alice Wright, marries an American and moves to rural Kentucky. She finds herself an outsider, who desperately wants to escape the boring house-wife expectations and be accepted as an influential member of her new community. Alice joins a small team of diverse women, known as the “Packhorse” Librarians, who deliver books on horseback throughout their community and encourage literacy. One of the main characters, Margery, who is the leader of their book brigade, is presented as the strong-willed, stubborn woman who won’t conform to the conventions society around her expects. The Giver of Stars is historical fiction and touches on the controversy of women entering into the workforce in a more prominent role and becoming independent individuals.

Throughout the book Moyes references the literary classic, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which parallels these women beautifully. Each of the female characters have very different personalities and perspectives which are comparable to the four March sisters in Little Women. As well, I found there were some similar themes between this book and Little Women. These themes included independence, gender stereotyping, personal growth and familial challenges. The Giver of Stars highlights the power of literacy, the strength people can have when they band together and how friendships can bloom in unlikely circumstances.

The Giver of Stars incorporates romance within the character’s journeys which I would characterize as cheesy and soap opera-like. However, if you enjoy a bit of romantic mush, then you will likely find those moments endearing and refreshing. For me, I found the conflict, personal-struggle and perseverance most compelling. I believe this book is well-rounded in that regard. There are sprinkles of action, drama, romance and comedy all rolled into one narrative of the Appalachian Mountain women. Who doesn’t enjoy a book about promoting reading books?! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

- B

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