The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: Your Preview Verdict

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes: Your Preview Verdict

Our recent Preview for the new Jojo Moyes novel, The Giver of Stars was a huge success! Inspired by a remarkable true story, it is the unforgettable journey of five extraordinary women living in extraordinary and perilous times. It is a love letter to the power of books and literature and their ability to bring us together and deliver the truth, as well as a tribute to female friendship. Our Preview readers loved the strong female characters, the great themes throughout the book, and of course that the book is about sharing the love of books!

Read some of their highlights:

There are really no words except yes yes yes, read it, read it, read it. The Giver of Stars grabbed me from the Author’s Note at the beginning and did not let me go even after I read the last page. This is a book that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. If you have read and enjoyed anything by Nicole Alexander or have been haunted by Delia Owen’s Where The Crawdads Sing, this book is for you. Moyes has provided a story of female empowerment stemming from friendships formed when a group of women are thrown together in unusual circumstances. She has beautifully illustrated how friendship is not governed by wealth, class, race or religion and the wonderful ways women can change the world, their community and society around them when they feel loved and supported by others. I will definitely be recommending this book to everyone I know and even those I don’t. – Mel, NSW, 5 stars

I’ve read and enjoyed several of Jojo Moyes’ previous books. ‘The Giver of Stars’ is a radical departure from the styles I’d associated her with – and it’s wonderful. Moyes explains the inspiration for the book at the beginning and it resonated with me – introducing others to the joy of books. As a former teacher librarian, that was my mission too – but I wasn’t in the Appalachian region of Kentucky in the 1930s. Her depictions of the poverty, racism and sexism are jaw dropping and the feats of the women who went into the mountains on horseback to distribute reading material are amazing. Moyes’ research is evident, woven into a compelling and engaging story based on fact. Alice, Margery, the awful Mr Van Cleve and his weak son, Bennett, are memorable, as are the minor characters. The challenges faced by the women are daunting and there’s quite a bit of humour as they deal with them. Totally different to what I was expecting and highly recommended. – Penny, VIC, 5 stars

Jo Jo Moyes latest novel, The Giver of Stars may be set in 1937 but it has a contemporary feel and deals with issues that are still relevant. It is a beautiful, well researched work of fiction based on facts about the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. At its core it is a story of five young women of disparate backgrounds and beliefs who work together to deliver reading materials and more to the mountain dwelling hillbillies of their small community. I found it to be an interesting and enthralling story that contained elements of romance, mystery, suspense, sadness and joy. The universal themes related to education, domestic violence and the empowerment of women and children are relevant to the society of today. The power of female friendship takes The Giver of Stars from being sad and depressing to hopeful and uplifting. – Janelle, NSW, 5 stars

Although a change of pace for Jojo Moyes, this novel is a brilliant account of depression era USA and the power of books to teach, inspire and lift morale. The story features strong women who inspire. An absolutely beautiful book. – Dianne, SA, 5 stars

A beautifully written historical novel combining both real life events and strong female characters. Having read Jojo Moyes Me Before You trilogy, I was very interested to read her recent novel, which is set in Kentucky during the depression era. The novel centres around The Pack Horse Library Project, which was a program that did actually exist. The Park Horse Librarians delivered books to remote regions in the Appalachian Mountains between 1935 and 1943. The novel started a little slowly for me, but as we get to know the characters, and we are drawn in to their journey from strangers to friends, I was soon engrossed.  Learning more about the Pack Horse Librarian Project throughput this novel was fascinating. Moyes descriptions of the landscapes was delightful, and I felt truly transported.  This novel is actually my favourite Moyes novel, capturing as it does the power of what females can achieve working together in the face of adversity, all within a fascinating historical setting. – Janelle, VIC, 5 stars

The Giver of Stars is a beautifully written, compelling story about the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. The narrative is primarily told through the perspectives of Alice and Margery, with a cast of amazing supporting characters interwoven throughout the story. The Horseback Library was established to improve literacy in the community, particularly amongst families living in remote locations. Whilst undertaking their valuable work, the librarians faced extraordinary challenges, most critically, in the form of extreme opposition from influential community leaders. I was particularly drawn to the theme of privilege portrayed in the book. The Horseback Library not only improved literacy but also promoted female empowerment. This was extremely threatening to the powerful within the community because it diminished their potential to exploit the powerless. Although set almost 100 years ago, situations occurring in the book are disturbingly similar to those playing out today. I also really appreciated the way female friendships were portrayed, as a vital source of support and strength. Finally, I love the way in which The Giver of Stars celebrates books: like Margery, the capacity for books to provide a refuge from the harsh realities of life is one of the reasons many of us love to read. – Amanda QLD, 5 stars

Jojo Moyes never disappoints!!!! However her new book “The Giver of Stars” surpasses all expectations!!! The author was inspired when she read about the Horseback Libraries of Kentucky in the 1930s. The libraries were funded by the US Government and the women employed went into the remote and isolated mountains on horseback to take books and magazines to those who otherwise had no access to reading material. “The Giver of Stars” is fiction based on these brave, strong, fearless women. As a lover of hearing about strong women and a former teacher of reading, this story has everything that appeals to me. It revolves around 5 diverse women who face incredible hardships, prejudice, severe weather conditions and harsh mountain terrain. They bond together as a team throughout their difficulties, determined to keep the library functioning. The characters were totally believable and I particularly warmed to these strong women. Jojo’s involved descriptions and clever writing took the reader on a journey with the characters. The book was a page turner. I couldn’t put it down but I also didn’t want it to end. Thank you so much Better Reading for sending me this book. I love it and I cant wait to read it again. – Glenis, NSW, 5 stars

I fell in love with The Giver of Stars from the first page. Set in Kentucky in the 1930s, five women volunteer for the horseback library scheme, started by Eleanor Roosevelt, taking books to isolated families in the Appalachians. Each woman has her own story, and own reasons, for taking on the responsibility of bringing joy to people through books. As the book enfolds, we learn more about the women, their loves and relationships and the bigotry of many neighbours who don’t believe that women should read, or indeed, ride on their own. I was so engaged with Margery and Sven, Alice and Fred that it actually came as a shock when the book ended. I wanted more!! A very big 5 stars from me. – Daniella, QLD, 5 stars

What a delightful book! As a Jojo Moyes “novice”, I wasn’t sure what to expect – the book captured me right from the start and I found it very hard to put down. “The Giver of Stars” is a beautifully written book full of richly developed fictional characters who are embedded in historical facts, around the travelling libraries started by Eleanor Roosevelt in the remote regions of America in the 1930s, when education and the availability of books was rare. We meet Alice and Marge, and follow them through the challenges that are presented to them on a daily basis, both in their personal lives and in the day to day running of the travelling library. We see the joy that these women, along with their associates, bring to numerous lives as they travel near and far to ensure that the privilege of reading a book is shared. What we accept as something so simple today, to be able to read a book, was truly a gift less than 100 years ago, something we take for granted now, back then brought such joy and meaning to so many. “The Giver of Stars” gives food for thought, while itself giving joy to the reader. A masterpiece. – Jane, NSW, 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book from Jojo. It is a bit different to previous works but absolutely a great read. I loved the characters, especially Alice and the book had me hooked from the first chapter. – Jenni, VIC, 5 stars

I purposely kept myself in the dark before reading this book, I like having no expectations when reading an author I’ve not read before. So I had no idea what the book was about, and the title certainly doesn’t give any clues. But I found myself gripped from the first page and thoroughly enjoyed both the experience of reading this and the story and characters I became immersed in. This book has everything; births, deaths and marriages, natural and man-made disasters, racism, love, sex and friendship, sexism, domestic violence and even incest, plus a courtroom drama. All seen through the eyes of dimensioned characters who grow through their experiences. It is a thoroughly enjoyable journey and I’d encourage anyone to go along for the ride. I will now go and hunt down some more of Jojo Moyes’ work. – Em, NSW, 5 stars


Read all Preview reviews for The Giver of Stars here






Preview Reviews: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

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17 October 2019

Preview Reviews: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

    Better Reading Preview: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

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    4 September 2019

    Better Reading Preview: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

      Publisher details

      The Giver of Stars
      Jojo Moyes
      01 October, 2019


      The brand-new standalone novel from the Number One bestselling author of Me Before You, After You and Still Me.Inspired by a remarkable true story, the unforgettable journey of five extraordinary women living in extraordinary and perilous times. Alice Wright has travelled halfway across the world to escape her stifling life in England. Handsome American businessman Bennett Van Cleve represents a fresh start. But she soon realises that swapping the twitching curtains of suburbia for newlywed life in the wild mountains of Kentucky isn't the answer to her prayers. But maybe meeting Margery O'Hara is. The heart and backbone of the small community of Salt Lick, a woman who isn't afraid of anything or anyone, Margery is on a mission.Enlisting Alice, along with three other women, all from very different backgrounds, to join her, the band of unlikely sisters battle the elements and unforgiving terrain - as well as brave all manner of dangers and social disapproval - to ride hundreds of miles a week to deliver books to isolated families. Transforming the lives of so many is all the impetus they need to take such risks.And for Alice, her new job and blossoming friendships become an unexpected lifeline, providing her with the courage she needs to make some tough decisions about her marriage. Then a body is found in the mountains, rocking the close-knit community and tearing the women apart as one of them becomes the prime suspect. Can they pull together to overcome their greatest challenge yet?A love letter to the power of books and literature and their ability to bring us together and deliver the truth, as well as a tribute to female friendship, The Giver of Stars is the book that Jojo Moyes was born to write.
      Jojo Moyes
      About the author

      Jojo Moyes

      Jojo Moyes was born in 1969 and grew up in London. After a varied career including stints as a minicab controller, typer of braille statements for blind people for NatWest, and brochure writer for Club 18-30, she did a degree at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University. In 1992, she won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University.Jojo worked as a journalist for ten years, including a year at South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, and nine at The Independent where she worked variously as News Reporter, Assistant News Editor and Arts and Media Correspondent.Jojo has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain was published. Since then she has written a further eleven novels, all of which have been widely critically acclaimed.Jojo has won the Romantic Novelist’s Award twice, and Me Before You has been nominated for Book of the Year at the UK Galaxy Book Awards. Me Before You has since gone on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide.Jojo lives (and writes!) on a farm in Essex, England with her husband, journalist Charles Arthur, and their three children.

      Books by Jojo Moyes


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