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Publisher's Summary

Number one New York Times best seller

A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club pick 

USA Today's top 100 books to read while stuck at home social distancing

“I’ve been a huge Jojo Moyes fan. Her characters are so compelling.... It’s such a great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together.” (Reese Witherspoon)

From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.

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 Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them - and to the men they love - becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: Bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic - a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

Soon to be a major motion picture!

©2019 Jojo Moyes (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Giver of Stars is a richly rewarding exploration of the depths of friendship, good men willing to stand up to bad and adult love. Moyes celebrates the power of reading in a terrific book that only reinforces that message." (USA Today)

"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)

"[A] dramatic, sweeping story.... As well as creating wonderful strong characters, Jojo Moyes has an incredible eye for historical detail - I really felt as though I was riding over those Kentucky mountains with those women." (Sophie Kinsella for Bustle)

"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, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Big Little Lies)

What listeners say about The Giver of Stars

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Weird Similarities to “The Book Woman...”

After reading both “The Giver of Stars” and “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” (the latter of which was written first by Kim Michele Richardson) I am disappointed and troubled by the numerous remarkable similarities between these two books. “Giver” is also an oddly stark diversion in subject matter and setting for Jojo Moyes, and I have read and enjoyed all of Moyes’ previous books. I don’t know what the explanation for this might be, but I found it disturbing and unfortunate.

153 people found this helpful

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Contrived and Predictable

Marge, Alice, Beth, Izzy and Sophia are a tight group of women who get on horseback to bring the library to country folk living deep in the forests (except Sophia). All of these characters are tired old tropes. Marge is an independent woman who doesn't play by the rules, Alice is in a loveless marriage, Izzy is a woman with a disability who doesn't know her own potential, Beth is gruff and seems only there to give opportunity for dialogue and Sophia is the African American woman who is wise and is capable of performing miscellaneous skills such as fixing book covers and being a midwife and just when needed. All of the woman are surrounded by one dimensional men who are either mean and ignorant or give unconditional admiration.

Yes bringing books and therefore enlightenment to uneducated "folk" is nice but where it goes t0o far into chic-lit-land is when the plot gets contrived. For example, Alice has a job, a place to live, friends, a man that cares for her and who she cares for and loves the land and yet "must go home to England". Why? To create a plot point? It's never really clear but guess what? Yep you guessed it she gets convinced to stay and then gets married.

If you want a book with interesting characters, don't buy this one.

66 people found this helpful

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JoJo Moyes does not disappoint!

I only “read” audio and I’m fussy. I loved this book. This historical fiction from the mid-30’s in the Kentucky mountains is well researched, with rich characters. I so enjoyed all the librarians and how they grew from both their work and the relationships they developed with each other. I am going to miss the two main characters.
There is a lot packed into this book. I couldn’t put it down. And excellent narration.

145 people found this helpful

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About time!

I loved Me Before You and some of Moyes other books weren’t quite up my alley, but this one was really something to listen to.

Julia’s narration was superb, boasting a full cast of various genders, ages, and accents.
Loved how the story played out, and Marjorie kinda fires up your inner “ you tell ‘em girl!” inside us all.
Sometimes you read ( listen to) a bunch of “ meh” books and you just need one book to make you think there are still good writers out there.
Glad this was a worthwhile credit used:)

199 people found this helpful

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Beautiful book / excellent narrator

One of best books I’ve listened to since Where The Crawdads Sing!!
Couldn’t put it down. The narration was awesome as was the beautiful story of the WPA Pack Horse Librarians.
Highly recommend.

193 people found this helpful

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Coal books and women

I loved this story about Eastern Ky. I drove with my aunt and her bookmobile ( modern version of this story) to isolated settlements in this same area. It was a great story, beautifully told with a satisfactory ending.

92 people found this helpful

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Doesn't do the subject justice

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a Kentuckian. I've lived within 30 miles of the setting of this book for the past 40 years. In my opinion, if you're writing historical fiction you really should make sure that your research is thorough, that details are accurate and that it makes sense.

Some of my comments are probably nit-picking, but they drove me crazy throughout the book.

Early on in the book she talks about eucalyptus trees rustling in the breeze as she enters Baileyville. Eucalyptus trees grow in zones 10-12, Kentucky is zone 7.

If you're going to use a fictitious city, please don't place it in a real state with other real places unless you're going to do the geography justice. Go for all fiction or all real. Just pick one. The fictitious Baileyville is south of Lexington in the mountains in Lee County. In reality the county seat of Lee County (which is really southeast of Lexington) is Beattyville. Other real locations are used (Berea, Red Lick, Paint Lick, Salt Lick), but they aren't used in a way that makes any kind of sense in reality. Also, if you're South of Lexington, you're a long way from the Ohio River (roughly 100 miles). But the real Beattyville sits at the point where the three forks of the Kentucky River meet and flooding is an issue. Along the same lines, it takes over an hour to get from Lee County to Lexington in 2020 with good roads. I can't even imagine how long that trip would have been in 1937, but it wouldn't have been an hour. Berea is actually 2 counties away from Lee County so it would never have been on the route for a Lee County librarian. If the author had not placed so much emphasis on various locations this would not have been so glaring or jolting for readers familiar with the places named.

In reality, there were two African American branches of the Louisville Free Public Library, but neither was anywhere near as large as described.

Just in case you've never smelled a skunk, you can bet your life that a normal person would never continue on to a gathering after being sprayed by one, and just one bath DOES NOT get rid of the smell. It is the worst thing you can ever imagine, and even though she got her initial reaction to the smell right, the rest is all wrong, and in reality, the skunk added nothing to the story.

The conversations between Alice and Bennett never ring true, and I was constantly left wondering who would talk like that. Character development does improve later in the book, and the story gets more interesting, but I still found the end of the book to be a sorry resolution to Marge's problem. A lie shouldn't have been needed to get her acquitted.

Overall, I felt that there was minimal research conducted for the book, and it obvious the author never looked at a map. To quote my daughter, this feels like a rough draft that the editor should have sent back with major revisions. And considering that the author wasn't familiar with the area, get a Kentucky historian/geographer to provide input.

I really enjoyed other books by this author, but this one isn't the same caliber.

17 people found this helpful

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Read it first

I loved this book. I have lived in the Appalachian mountains my entire life. How did I not know about this? This would make a great book club feature.

79 people found this helpful

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My favorite book this year!

This story and it's characters grabbed my interest from the very beginning.
I knew half way through that I didn't want it to end, and that I would miss these people. I am not usually a big fan of historical fiction, but this book was outstanding! I also love that the pack horse library was a real thing.
I highly recommend this one, regardless of your typical genre.

104 people found this helpful

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Another winner

Did not want this book to end. I am finished listening however and feel so enriched by this wonderful story. The premise of the book is based on the true story of women working against immense odds to venture out in remote areas of Kentucky on horseback, delivering reading material to women and families who would not otherwise have access to them. Such beautiful character development and warm stories of these women finding success and acceptance. Truly a wonderful book. Thank you Ms. Moyes. Please get cracking on your next book?

62 people found this helpful