“The Giver of Stars” by Jojo Moyes is a book based on the true story of the pack horse librarians of rural Kentucky. Through a program initiated by Eleanor Roosevelt, the pack horse librarians delivered books to the poor and isolated inhabitants of the Appalachian mountains in the 1930s and early 1940s. The main characters, Alice and Margery, have had very different upbringings but form a strong and lasting bond as the plot unravels. Alice has newly escaped from a stifling life in England into a cold and bewildering marriage in small town Kentucky. Margery is the daughter of a much-maligned bootlegger. Both characters are resilient, Alice confronting an overbearing and abusive father-In-law and Margery dealing with the prejudices of the local townsfolk. They also face the hardships of travelling the mountains amidst harsh weather, difficult terrain, and wary mountain folk. The plot includes tension between the local mine owner and the coal miners who are fighting for better working conditions. This is a novel of loyal friendships and resistance against the many prejudices found in rural Appalachia in the early 1900s.
“The Giver of Stars” is available at the Huron County Library in book form and on cloudLibrary. You might also want to read “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson. Its plot is also based on the pack horse librarian program. This book is available at the Huron County Library.