The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
I think the controversy that surrounded this book made me nervous to pick it up, but I’m so sad that I allowed it to keep me away for so long. I absolutely enjoyed this book about The Pack Horse Library. This was a project set up in the 1930s to help promote literacy to rural communities, and female librarians would travel by horseback to deliver these books to the folks.
Set in the beautiful mountains of Kentucky, the group of women who ran the traveling library were incredible characters that developed true friendships of loyalty, love, and commitment. They demonstrate strength, independence, and determination in admirable ways and the reader can’t help but root for their success.
Not only is this a true delight for book lovers, but hisorical fiction readers will also love this one!
Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen
This incredible debut reads just like a memoir; I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t Nguyen’s personal story about immigrating to the United States. In 1979, a young mother leaves Vietnam with her two youngs sons. They arrive in New Orleans homeless, jobless, and alone. With the same grit and determination that accompanies any immigrant trying to make it in a foreign land, Things We Lost in the Water was a gripping read.
With themes of racism, grief, and a mother’s love, there is a lot to unpack. It took me awhile to get into, but I soon found myself fully immersed. Over the course of twenty-six years, we see just how hard life can be, not only as an immigrant in a foreign country, but as a member of a family where miscommunication and misunderstandings are commonplace. If I have any complaint, it would be that this one was a bit longer so we could fully unpack Ben’s role in the family and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which ravaged New Orleans in 2005. Regardless of those very minor complaints, this is an impactful novel that will hit you hard and make you think.
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
I absolutely fell head over heels for this book – the story, the characters, the cover, the writing. All of it blew my expectations out of the water – and I’m thoroughly impressed this is a debut novel. Vijay really takes her readers and sinks them into this deeply layered, deeply complex story. I felt transformed to India and the story Vijay tells weaved itself right into the fibers of my being. I know will think of Shalani many, many times in the future – both with happiness and frustration.
For me, everything about this book worked. The pacing was slow, but that only added to the mystriousness and quietness of the novel overall. It made it so much more atmospheric and Vijay took her time deepdiving into these moments which absolutely brought the whole experience to life. Some reviewers have expressed frustration with Shalani and the ending…and while I can see the point they’re trying to make, I also think it works and makes total sense with the understanding and insight I gained into Shalani from the rest of the book. Honestly? It frustrated me too, but it also frustrates me to always have neat and tidy endings.
Speaking of endings, if you’ve read this one, I’d love ot talk more about it with someone…shoot me a message in the comments!
(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)