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If you’re looking for a captivating audiobook that will transport you into a world of love and solidarity, look no further than “The Giver of Stars” by Jojo Moyes. This historical fiction novel delivers a beautiful and compelling story that will leave you both entertained and enlightened.

In this audiobook review, we’ll explore the different elements that make “The Giver of Stars” such a great read. From the characters and setting to the plot and themes, we’ll give you a comprehensive overview of the novel while also discussing the immersive audiobook experience.

Whether you’re a fan of Jojo Moyes or simply love a good historical fiction novel, “The Giver of Stars” is definitely worth checking out.

Key Takeaways:

  • “The Giver of Stars” by Jojo Moyes is a captivating audiobook that tells a story of love and solidarity set against the backdrop of historical Kentucky.
  • The book features rich and complex characters that readers will fall in love with.
  • The immersive audiobook experience enhances the reading experience, making it a great choice for those who love audiobooks.
  • The novel explores themes of love, friendship, solidarity, and women’s empowerment.
  • “The Giver of Stars” has received critical acclaim and positive feedback from readers.

Overview of “The Giver of Stars”

If you’re a fan of Jojo Moyes, you won’t want to miss her latest masterpiece, “The Giver of Stars.” This novel takes readers on a ride through the rolling hills of Kentucky and offers a fresh take on the power of female friendship.

The story centers around Alice, a woman who is newly married and straddling the line between her duty to her husband and her desire to forge her own path. When she joins a group of women who deliver books on horseback to the far-flung residents of the area, she finds kindred spirits and a new purpose.

Throughout the novel, Moyes expertly explores themes of love, loss, and women’s empowerment. With its rich characters and vivid setting, “The Giver of Stars” is a novel that readers won’t soon forget.

Author Jojo Moyes
Publisher Penguin Random House
Publication Date October 8, 2019
Genre Historical Fiction
Pages 400
Awards Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2019)

Plot Summary

“The Giver of Stars” takes place in Depression-era Kentucky and follows the story of Alice Wright, a British transplant who marries into a family in Baileyville, Kentucky. Dissatisfied with her unfulfilling life as a wife, Alice becomes involved with a group of women who deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s traveling library program.

Alice soon falls in love with the traveling librarian, Margery O’Hare, and the two women become fast friends. However, their work is threatened by local forces who see the traveling library as a threat and seek to shut it down.


Moyes grapples with several themes throughout “The Giver of Stars,” including:

  • Women’s Empowerment: The traveling library empowers the women who run it by giving them a sense of purpose and a means of escape from the patriarchal society in which they live.
  • Love and Friendship: Alice and Margery’s relationship provides a touching and heartwarming depiction of love and friendship between two women.
  • Prejudice: The novel explores prejudice through both the characters’ attitudes towards one another and the systemic discrimination faced by Alice and other characters.

Characters in “The Giver of Stars”

Jojo Moyes’ “The Giver of Stars” is a novel with rich and complex characters that will draw you in. From the protagonist to the supporting cast, we’ll explore their backgrounds, motivations, and relationships. Let’s take a closer look at the character analysis:

Protagonist – Alice Van Cleve

As the central character, Alice Van Cleve is a strong and independent woman who moves to rural Kentucky in the late 1930s to escape her oppressive family. She takes up a job with the Packhorse Library Project and becomes one of the most dedicated librarians, delivering books on horseback to the remote areas in the mountains. Her journey of self-discovery and resilience in the face of adversity is the driving force of the story.

Supporting Characters

Along with Alice, “The Giver of Stars” features a host of memorable supporting characters that add depth to the story. They include:

Character Description
Margery O’Hare The feisty and outspoken leader of the Packhorse Library Project who inspires Alice and the other librarians to stand up for themselves and fight for their rights.
Beth Van Cleve Alice’s estranged sister-in-law who becomes her unlikely ally and confidante in her quest for independence.
Sophia Homan A black woman who is a victim of racial prejudice and discrimination in the town. Alice and Margery take her under their wing and help her fight for justice.
Fred Guisler A local mine owner who is a staunch supporter of the Packhorse Library Project and who forms a romantic attachment with Alice.

The interactions between these characters, their strengths and weaknesses, and their relationships form the heart of the novel, making it a must-read for anyone who enjoys character-driven stories.

Setting and Atmosphere

One of the most captivating aspects of “The Giver of Stars” is its vivid portrayal of the Kentucky landscape and historical setting. Jojo Moyes skillfully weaves together historical elements and creates an immersive atmosphere that transports readers to another time and place.

The book takes place in rural Kentucky during the 1930s, amidst the Great Depression. As the main characters, Alice and Margery, deliver books on horseback to remote areas, readers get to experience the stunning scenery of the state, from the rolling hills to the vast forests that surround them.

The historical setting adds depth to the novel and highlights the unique challenges that women faced during that era. Kentucky’s historical context as a state where women’s rights were hotly debated and challenged, and where opportunities for women were rare, enhances our understanding of the characters and their struggles.

This image captures the stunning Kentucky landscape depicted in “The Giver of Stars,” showing the incredible natural beauty of the state.

The combination of the breathtaking scenery and historical setting creates a rich and dynamic atmosphere, making “The Giver of Stars” a fascinating and immersive read.

Plot and Narrative

Jojo Moyes’ “The Giver of Stars” boasts a captivating storyline that will keep readers hooked until the very end. At its core, this novel tells the tale of five women who become librarians and traverse the rugged terrain of Kentucky during the Great Depression. The narrative follows these women as they face many challenges, from discrimination to natural disasters, while also exploring the power of love and solidarity.

What sets this novel apart is Moyes’ unique and masterful narrative style. She expertly weaves together different perspectives and timelines, keeping readers on their toes with unexpected plot twists. Moyes’ use of suspense and foreshadowing adds layers of depth to the story, making it a truly immersive read for fans of historical fiction.

plot twists

One particularly impressive aspect of the novel is the way in which Moyes handles the plot twists. Instead of relying on clichés, she subverts readers’ expectations, crafting a storyline that is both unpredictable and believable. The pacing is also well-executed, with the plot moving at just the right tempo to maintain readers’ interest.

Overall, “The Giver of Stars” is a testament to Jojo Moyes’ prowess as a storyteller. The intricate plot, unique narrative style, and unexpected plot twists come together to create a truly unforgettable reading experience.

Themes and Messages

Jojo Moyes’ “The Giver of Stars” expertly explores themes of love, solidarity, and women’s empowerment. The novel’s core message about the power of relationships and communal support is a beautiful reminder of the importance of coming together, especially during challenging times.

The book’s portrayal of women as strong, independent, and capable individuals is particularly inspiring. The protagonist, Alice, defies societal norms by leaving her home and embarking on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Her courage and determination in the face of adversity is a testament to the resilience and strength of women.

The novel also highlights the importance of standing up for what is right, even if it goes against the status quo. Through the experiences of the characters, we see the impact that solidarity and mutual support can have in effecting change and bringing justice.

Audiobook Experience

If you’re looking for a highly immersive reading experience, then “The Giver of Stars” in audiobook format is an excellent choice. The audiobook, narrated by acclaimed voice actor Julia Whelan, captures the essence of the novel’s characters and setting, creating a truly immersive experience for readers.

Narration and Voice Actors

Whelan’s narration brings life and emotion to each character, making it easy to identify and appreciate their distinct personalities. Her voice acting skills are especially appreciated when depicting characters from diverse backgrounds. Whether portraying an English protagonist or a Southern American supporting character, Whelan can effectively convey the nuances of each role, making each character feel real and relatable.


As with many great audiobooks, the audio format allows for deeper immersion in the story compared to reading. The captivating narration, coupled with background sound effects, transports readers to 1930s Kentucky, immersing them in the lives of the characters and their struggles.

Overall, “The Giver of Stars” audiobook format is a highly recommended choice for any fans of historical fiction, or those seeking a highly engaging reading experience through which they can truly immerse themselves in the story.

Critical Reception and Reader Reviews

The Giver of Stars has received critical acclaim and praise from readers worldwide. Many reviewers have highlighted the book’s themes of love, friendship, and women’s empowerment, all set against the historical backdrop of Kentucky in the 1930s.

Critics have commended the author’s storytelling and character development, generating an emotional connection with the readers. They praised Moyes for creating memorable characters, their complexity, and their struggles. Furthermore, reviewers noted the book’s consistent pace and unexpected plot twists, keeping readers engaged until the very end.

Readers have also praised “The Giver of Stars,” providing positive feedback and reviews. Some readers have commented on the profound effect the book had on them emotionally. They have also shared their admiration for the book’s portrayal of solidarity, love, and courage.

Best Reviews:

Review Source Review Snippet
The New York Times “A female-centered epic that satisfyingly hits all the emotional high notes.”
Goodreads “A beautifully written, heartwarming, and thought-provoking novel.”
The Guardian “Jojo Moyes brings her trademark gift for creating characters players’-Smart and funny, utterly engaging.

Worst Reviews:

  • “The book felt slow, and the plot predictable.” – Amazon review
  • “The historical backdrop felt superficial, and the characters lacked depth.”
    – Goodreads review
  • “I found the storyline unrealistic and cliché.” – Barnes & Noble review


Jojo Moyes’ “The Giver of Stars” is a beautifully written and captivating novel that explores the themes of love and solidarity. From the well-developed characters to the enchanting setting of Kentucky, Moyes delivers a compelling and emotional story that will stay with readers long after they finish the last page.

The audiobook version of “The Giver of Stars” enhances the reading experience, with fantastic narration and voice acting that immerses listeners in the story. The critical reception and reader reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, with many praising Moyes’ ability to weave together a complex story while still delivering a heartwarming message.

If you’re a fan of Jojo Moyes or historical fiction, “The Giver of Stars” is a must-read. With its beautiful storytelling and powerful themes, it’s no wonder this book has received critical acclaim and touched the hearts of readers around the world.

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