July 03, 2020

'The Giver of Stars'- Jojo Moyes

The name Jojo Moyes has been lately associated with the romantic bestsellers 'Me Before You', 'After You' and 'Still Me'. Having read and loved all three books I made the mistake of assuming these were the only books by the author and that she writes only romantic fiction. (Being a librarian, and being surrounded by books all day, I really should not make such assumptions!) So I was quite surprised to come across a book written by Jojo Moyes which I had never heard of before. Also, after some checking, I was more surprised to discover that she has written 15 books altogether!

'The Giver of Stars' is a beautiful story set in rural Kentucky during the Depression times. I think I loved it more because it was about a group of librarians. In this story, these brave women deliver books to the most rural parts of the Appalachian Mountains on horseback while facing all types of disastrous weather. Moyes has stated that inspiration for this book was from the WPA's Horseback Librarian programme that ran from 1935 to 1943.

I love Jojo Moyes' writing because of its simple and capturing nature. She knows how to absorb readers and transport them instantly to the settings described in the stories. It was fascinating to read the description of this remote library service run exclusively through manual labour and from donated books. The unquenchable thirst of the mountain residents for any reading material as described in the book- whether it was for a weathered copy of the bible, a collection of a few pages of recipes or a comic book for the kids- moved me. It made me realise how fortunate we are in these times to take the free availability of reading material for granted. 

'The Giver of Stars" is a remarkable story of friendship, love, teamwork and perseverance woven into a magical tapestry of words by the internationally acclaimed author Jojo Moyes. Her novels have been translated into forty-six languages, have hit the number one spot in twelve countries and have sold over thirty-eight million copies worldwide. Moyes' writing has a dramatic quality and I am not at all surprised that some of her books have been adapted into films. After reading the 435 pages of this book in a very short time I am left with the breathless satisfaction of reading a 'good book' and a motivation to hunt for the other books written by this talented author.