Thursday, April 16, 2020

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings


It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

Today I'm featuring The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes.  The excerpts shared are from an advanced reader copy I got from the publisher.


Beginning: Prologue
December 20, 1937

Listen: Three miles deep in the forest just below Arnott's Ridge, and you're in silence so dense it's like you're wading through it.  There's no birdsong past dawn, not even in high summer and especially not now, with the chill air so thick with moisture that it stills those few leaves clinging gamely to the branches.  
Page 56:   She cursed herself silently, wondering whether she would ever be able to find the right balance with these people.

My thoughts: I've read and enjoyed several of Moyes's contemporary novels.  I'm now completely captivated by her historical fiction. The Giver of Stars is based on the true story of the traveling librarians who rode through the mountains of Kentucky delivering books to residents in remote areas.

From GoodReads:  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. 


This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.


  1. I've read about these librarians, and theirs is a wonderful story. Add brilliant writing by Moyes and I'll bet this will be amazing. Congratulations on snagging an ARC.

  2. That's an evocative opening and an intriguing blurb. I hope you enjoy it. Have a good weekend!

  3. That has a great opening, I got a vivid image of the setting.
    My Friday: Marie @ Pages to Explore

  4. I have enjoyed this author, so this story about a traveling library sounds so enticing that I must add it to my list. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: ”BIG SUMMER”

  5. I'm definitely checking this out when it is published! I enjoyed Jojo Moyes' previous books :)
    Konna @ The Reading Armchair

  6. Sounds like a wonderful read!!! Happy weekend, stay safe!

  7. I just read an article about accusations that she plagiarized another novel when writing this. I like the subject but want to read a book that wasn't really hers. My quotes and review

  8. I may have to give more from Moyes a try since I enjoyed Me Before you.
    Check out my Friday spotlight and my review of Shorefall