“…and best of all, the wilderness of books, in which she could wander, where she liked, made the library a region of bliss to her.”
—Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
In the 1930’s with the country suffering from the Depression, President and Mrs. Rooselvelt began the WPA. One of the projects was the Packhorse Library. This was a system of mobile libraries in several southern states.
Jojo Moyes uses this true happening to create a beautiful story of loyalty, justice, and humanity. Alice Van Cleve moved from her home in London, England to the mountains of Kentucky to escape her stifling life. She marries the son of a mine owner in the town of Baileyville. Alice is not prepared for the life she finds in the United States. Her father-in-law is domineering and treats Alice like a servant.
When Alice hears about the plan to create a library on horseback to reach the families who live in the mountains around the town, she volunteers to be a rider. She isn’t a good rider, but she works hard to do her job. She learns how to talk to the folks who have very little experience with books. With the other three riders, the community becomes excited about books and learning!
Margery O’Hare is the leader of the riders. She is a strong woman who doesn’t believe in asking permission from a man. When she is accused of murdering a mountain man, the dangers of the time become real! Moyes does a good job of creating tension as the trial continues in the mountains! Who will believe a woman when a man is making the accusations?
This book is very different from the Me books written by Moyes. But, the author’s character portrayal again had me unable to put it down!