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“The Giver of Stars” by Jojo Moyes

A Tale of Literary Courage and Female Empowerment

By Kristiyan ParzulovPublished 4 months ago 5 min read

Jojo Moyes’ historical fiction book “The Giver of Stars” takes readers on a literary trip to the 1930s rural heartland of Kentucky. Moyes skillfully tells a story of friendship, love, and the transformational power of literature in this moving story. Inspired by the real-life New Deal project known as the Pack Horse Library Project, this book immerses the reader in the lives of the women who traveled on horseback to provide books to isolated areas of Appalachia. We’ll delve into this engrossing tale and examine its key themes, endearing characters, subliminal messages, and the significant influence that literature has on people as a whole.


“The Giver of Stars” explores a wide range of subjects that have a profound emotional impact on readers. Fundamental topics explored in the book include female empowerment, the value of community, the perseverance of the human spirit, and the pursuit of knowledge.

Female Empowerment

The empowerment of women in a culture that has historically limited their responsibilities is a major theme of the novel. With a common love of books, the women of the Pack Horse Library Project — led by Margery O’Hare and including Alice Wright, Izzy, Beth, and Sophia — show that they are resilient in the face of societal expectations and hardships. Every character has its own path toward empowerment, which reflects a larger theme on the autonomy and rights of women.

The Pursuit of Knowledge

“The Giver of Stars” highlights the transformational potential of information and the insatiable need to learn. The ladies involved in the project serve as agents of change, providing books to individuals who were previously deprived of access to education. The book places a strong emphasis on the idea that having access to knowledge and books is a fundamental right that has the power to transform people’s lives and communities.


The individuals exhibit remarkable perseverance under the backdrop of the Great Depression and in an area where poverty and adversity are widespread. Their resolve to distribute books and improve their society is all the more admirable in light of the obstacles they encounter, which range from difficult terrain to social hostility.


Another important theme in the novel is the value of community. The female members of the Pack Horse Library Project establish a strong, supportive community that helps one another overcome both emotional and professional obstacles. Their creation of bonds is evidence of the power inherent in close-knit communities.


The book has a large cast of characters, all of which have unique personalities, backstories, and development throughout the story.

Alice Wright

The main character of the book, Alice, is a young Englishwoman who feels stuck in her marriage to Bennett Van Cleve at first. She becomes a vital member of the Pack Horse Library Project team and experiences tremendous personal growth.

Margery O’Hare

The courageous and self-reliant leader of the Pack Horse Library Project is Margery. Her commitment to delivering books to Kentucky’s most isolated communities acts as motivation for her fellow “Givers of Stars.”


Team member Izzy confronts the wounds of an abusive relationship and gains self- and other-advocacy skills.


At first, Beth has trouble speaking, but her passion for reading and the library project give her the courage and voice she needs to speak up.


Despite encountering bias and discrimination, Sophia, a woman of color, never wavers in her resolve to spread the joy of reading throughout her community.

Bennett Van Cleve

Bennett, Alice’s spouse, finds himself torn between his increasing devotion to his wife and his duty to his family. His persona represents the internal conflict that arises when one must decide between tradition and personal desire.


The plot is made more intricate and tense by the forbidden romance Alice establishes with Jackson, a charming local man.

Hidden Messages

Moyes invites readers to delve deeper into her story by incorporating a number of subtly veiled undertones throughout the book. Even if they aren’t mentioned directly, the following subliminal messages are apparent:

The Importance of Female Solidarity

“The Giver of Stars” emphasizes the strength of women banding together for mutual assistance. The book’s female protagonists are prime examples of the resiliency and strength that can result from this kind of support.

Defying Expectations

In the book, a lot of characters flout social norms. In particular, Alice defies the expectations of her affluent English background by turning into a “Giver of Stars.” This has a subliminal message: it’s never too late to follow your genuine purpose and overcome social pressures.

The Subversive Nature of Reading

It is intrinsically rebellious to read and share books in a culture that seeks to limit access to knowledge. The Pack Horse Library Project is a representation of defiance against oppression and ignorance.


To sum up, Jojo Moyes’s “The Giver of Stars” is an engrossing and deeply moving book that gives readers a glimpse into a world of bravery, friendship, and the transformational potential of reading. The author delves deeply into the significance of female empowerment, the quest for knowledge, perseverance in the face of hardship, and the value of community, all while showcasing a wealth of character development.

The subliminally conveyed hidden themes in the story serve as a reminder of the power of literature to question the status quo and the strength found in unification. In the end, this book serves as a monument to the universal human desire for meaning and connection — a topic that cuts across space and time.

Following the women of the Pack Horse Library Project on their daring treks through the mountains and valleys of Kentucky serves as a reminder that a person’s love of books has the potential to transcend boundaries, inspire change, and enable them to overcome social restraints. Not only is “The Giver of Stars” a work of historical fiction, but it also honors women’s unwavering spirit and the transformative power of reading on the human spirit. For readers looking for an engrossing and thought-provoking literary experience, Moyes’s novel is a must-read because of her skill at storytelling and her ability to vividly depict historical events.

If you enjoyed my summary then you should definitely check out the full book here.

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About the Creator

Kristiyan Parzulov

I Give my Personal Book Reviews 👏👏 of the Most Popular Bestsellers!

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