The impressions of this novel waxed and waned for this reviewer. At first the book appeared to be a "chick book", romantic pap for a female audience. Eventually, a complicated story unfolded. It is an historical tale primarily about women, dubbed the packhorse librarians, who delivered books to the far strewn and impoverished residents of southeastern Kentucky during the depression. These women worked for the WPA to provide mobile libraries. It is a story of physical and emotional abuse of women as well as the strength and support women can provide for each other. Out of chronological sequence, the novel begins with an assault which is addressed toward the end of the book with a trial. Along the way, the author paints images of the beauty of the mountains and the brutality of the snowy cold winters and the bug infested summers along winding dangerous horse trails. She includes the punishing work in the coal mines and the stereotypical views of locals toward female literacy and the acquisition of knowledge through reading.
Before writing this review, I learned that another book with the title The Book Women of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson was published in May 2019 well BEFORE Moyes's novel which appeared in October 2019. Not only was the topic of these novels the same, but also character names, scenarios and even dialogues seem to be "lifted" from Richardson's novel and appear in The Giver of Stars. It is worth the reader's time to scan an article in BuzzFeed about the controversy. Moyes vehemently denies plagiarism, but for this reviewer, it does not pass the smell test. Moyes has not only lost a future reader and reviewer, but also a 5 star review. Reader be warned!