Before reading it I’d definitely heard of our February book, The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. I don’t live under a rock! Jojo Moyes is a beloved author (see Me Before You) AND Reese picked The Giver of Stars for her Hello Sunshine book club. So it was hard to miss. And most people who’d read it had nothing but good things to say. And that made me nervous.
I feel that way anytime a book gets a lot of hype. Maybe because nothing can ever really live up to that hype? Or I just feel like I’m not usually the type of reader that likes the books that are so beloved? Too polarizing? Either way, that’s usually a turn off for me. But I was willing to give it a shot. Anything for The Bookly Club, right?
I did do a lot of research on the story. So I knew the history it was based on. And of course I’d read the blurb, so I knew essentially what it was about. But I definitely didn’t expect to like it as much as I did! Around 100 or 150 pages in I remember texting Katharine saying that I had started to think this was one of those books that was more atmospheric, with little to no conflict. But then they introduced Sophia and I knew I was dead wrong. A black woman librarian in a Kentucky coal-mining town? Yup.
Racism, misogyny, a corrupt justice system, an oppressive class structure, issues of loyalty, friendship and marriage. There were multiple lanes of conflict in this story, and they were wove together so well! Also the characters were individualized so well that I could even picture their mannerisms and hear their voices. And I loved the theme of season as Alice arrives bright and shiny in summertime, weathers her despair in winter, and comes full circle to the relief of Springtime.
But what I liked best about the story was the ending. Some will say it was one of those endings that was too tidy. Wrapped up in a pretty bow. But I thoroughly enjoyed it! Not only is that what I was in the mood for, but Moyes did such a good job of writing a story that felt like there was no way out, just to turn it on its head. I told my husband at one point, “I don’t feel like reading tonight. This story has taken a dark turn and it’s making me sad ’cause I just don’t see how there can be a happy ending.” But I was very happy to be proven wrong!
This is only the second of Moyes’s books I’ve read (the other one being Me Before You of course), but now I think I might need to read more! I thoroughly enjoyed The Giver of Stars, it totally lived up to the hype. Five stars from me!