Jojo Moyes, whose novels have been number 1 best sellers in twelve countries, including America’s New York Times best-seller lists, and have been translated into forty-six languages, read a story in the Smithsonian magazine about the Packhorse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky. She quickly and easily decided her next novel would be about them. She visited Eastern Kentucky three times from 2017 until this year, rode horses along the trails that the Packhorse Librarians followed, stayed in a tiny mountain-side cabin, and talked with legions of people. “I have never enjoyed writing a book like I enjoyed this one,” she has said. For this novel she chose five women as her main characters. One an Englishwoman like herself, who marries a local man, another an African-American, one handicapped, all strong and self-reliant. The title is a tribute to the Poem, “The Giver of Stars,” by Amy Lowell (1874-1925), which can easily be viewed as a feminist love-letter. The novel deals with themes of feminism, race, social class, and the battle between knowledge and ignorance. “Though she made her mark writing contemporary romance, Moyes proves just as adept at historical fiction. . . The Giver of Stars is a celebration of love, but also of reading, of knowledge, of female friendship, of the beauty of our most rural corners and our enduring American grit: the kind of true grit that can be found in the hills of Kentucky and on the pages of this inspiring book.”—The Washington Post. “Timeless, Jojo Moyes' greatest work yet, and one of the most exquisitely-written—and absolutely compulsory—novels about women ever told.” —Lisa Taddeo. “With characters so real they feel like dear friends and a compelling storyline, this is a beautiful, special novel. I loved it and didn’t want it to end!”—Liane Moriarty. The Pack Horse Library Project was part of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) that lasted from 1935 until 1943. It employed 200 people and reached more than 100,000 residents. This book appeared on the New York Times bestseller lists in Hardback Fiction as soon as it was published.
New York: Viking/Penguin Random House, 2019. 400 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.