A REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK! “Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You”
Whether you’re a READER or a REBEL, you will love this book! Given the chance to start a mobile library (thank you, Eleanor Roosevelt), Margery (a headstrong, no-nonsense horse trainer) has to take four “frilly housewives” and turn them into strong riders with a knowledge of every book in their library. Each woman is given a route to learn and a string of families to win over as they discover that it isn’t just the men in town who are afraid of what these books could bring to the community, but the women who didn’t receive an education of their own.
I was amazed by the reactions of these families — wouldn’t they want free books brought to them each week? Shouldn’t they want their kids to learn to read? I found myself SO frustrated by the way Margery and her girls were verbally attacked by people who genuinely believed these books would threaten the “safety” of the community. Moye explores the complexity of “life in the mountains” beautifully as poverty, abuse, and neglect are discussed boldly and without hesitation. As a reader, it was incredibly sweet to see mothers and fathers opening up to these five women, all because they were willing to ride for days just to make sure their families got their books on time.
If you enjoyed The Great Alone, We Were the Lucky Ones, Before We Were Yours, or anything by Jojo Moyes, this is absolutely your next read!
Sexual assault – This story is honest about the way women had to fear walking alone because men may take advantage of them. There is also mention of a family with a sexually abusive father.
Child loss – Because poverty is a common circumstance, there is talk of adults and children dying from exposure and malnutrition.
Violence / Domestic Abuse – There are a few instances described where women are hit by men in their family, there are also a few fights between men involving weapons.
Recommended Age: 16+ due to violence, sexual assault, and the tougher conversations between the characters about families living in severe poverty and abuse. This is an author who addresses difficult topics gently while still being authentic (i.e. Me Before You). If you’re giving this book to a younger reader, I would encourage you to have conversations about where we still see abuse/poverty in our cities. BONUS if you read with your kiddos — What an awesome way to talk about reading and why it’s such a modern privilege to be able to read almost anything we want without someone having the power to take it away from us!