You know a book is good when you just completely forget that you’re reading. And I read this entire book in a single day because I was so enthralled by the story and the world created within.
Set in the 1930s, Alice is a young British woman who has just married a gorgeous American man and moved across the world to a small town in Kentucky. She thinks she’s the luckiest girl in the world, but when they get to Kentucky, things don’t quite go as she had planned.
Alice and Bennett move in with Bennett’s father, Mr Van Cleve, and their relationship is strained to say the least. As soon as they get home, Bennett seems to lose interest in poor Alice, leaving her isolated and alone.
Enter Marjery. A ‘forceful’ woman living outside of society’s expectations. She’s running a mobile library project that delivers library books to remote homes in the Kentucky mountains, a project which doesn’t really have the support of the whole town. And when Alice decides to get involved, let’s just say that Mr Van Cleve is non too pleased.
Speaking of Mr Van Cleve, he’s a downright bully. The kind of man that doesn’t take any nonsense from women, who is used to shouting loudly to get his own way, and if that doesn’t work he’ll use whatever underhand tactics he needs to, but he must get what he wants.
What follows is a tale of true sisterhood, of the fact that women are stronger together, and how these women in particular were not afraid to fight for what is right. and for each other.
I have to say, when I ordered this book, I saw it was by Jojo Moyes and assumed it would be another book on a similar vein to Me Before You and it’s sequels, so I was most suprised when I was dropped into 1930s Kentucky.
At first I didn’t thing I was going to get along with the story, but the characters were written with such depth that it didn’t take long before I was emotionally invested in their lives. And the way that the author described the town and the scenery that the women take in on their horseback travels. I could have been there with them, and truly felt like I was.
If you’re expecting a book that’s fluffy and romantic and without trial, this isn’t the book for you. It was challenging, eye opening, and multiple times I was left feeling like I could cry. Don’t let that put you off though, it was totally worth it for the joy of learning about and getting to know these wonderful women.
Although the women themselves weren’t real, I was surprised to learn the packhorse library was a real thing – I’d never heard of it before but what an amazing project to ensure that even the most remote homes in America could have the privilege of reading.
I think Jojo Moyes could fast be becoming one of my favourite authors, what a superb book.
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