There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I know no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” — Jane Austen

Found families possess some of the fiercest and strongest bonds a person can forge with another human being. Blood may be thicker than water, but who’s paying attention to that when you’ve found your people, your community that makes you feel safe and loved. Our latest read takes us to the mountains of Kentucky during the 1930s, to a small library manned by a charming group of women.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Sometimes I like to go into a book without knowing what it’s going to be about. I did that recently with Jojo Moyes’ latest novel “The Giver of Stars.” Now, that can be a pretty risky move, but knowing that Moyes is an accomplished storyteller I’d say that move paid off in spades.

Alice finds herself to be a fish out of water when her husband whisks her away from England to a small town in Kentucky, where she finds herself endlessly miserable. Margery is a singularly independent woman, content to live her life how she pleases without giving a darn about what the small-minded town will think. Alice and Margery strike up an unlikely but fast friendship when Alice volunteers to join the WPA packhorse library she’s managing.

Moyes’ latest novel is packed with heart and humor as her courageous pack of women travel up and down the Kentucky mountains and hollers delivering library books, small acts of kindness and even and act or two of rebellion. The women in this book are the kind that you want to invite over for a drink and to have your back when life’s obstacles knock you in the gut. With her stunning descriptions of the mountainside readers will find themselves transported on the back of saddle, with a bag loaded down with books.

From the book jacket…

“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 Horseback Librarians of Kentucky.”

In you enjoy…

If you devoured “The Giver of Stars,” check out any of Jojo Moyes other books to find similar echoes of heartfelt bonds found in this book. For those who have already thumbed through all of her work, readers might enjoy the saucy ladies in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “City of Girls.”