Updated: Sep 15, 2022
I started and stopped this book three different times before pushing past that point where I connected with these characters. Looking back at my reading tendencies, it will come as no surprise that Jojo Moyes is my favorite female author. I've now read eleven books by this gifted novelist.
Dipping back into the realm of historical fiction, it's not an avenue I travel upon with regular frequency, but I set myself up for high expectations after recalling one of my favorite Moyes' books in a similar genre, "The Girl You Left Behind".
The premise of this story and how it confronted long-standing discrimination issues (gender, race, socio-economical) was compelling and greatly appreciated. It helped me understand that while we have made progress since the days of the Great Depression, we still have a long road ahead of us. And it's courageous authors like Moyes along with her well-developed characters that help open our eyes to the inroads we can make toward a world where coexistence in love is a reality.
In a way that only this author can accomplish, I felt a little piece of each character seep beneath my skin. Alice and her persistence. Margery and her brazen confidence. Izzy and her desire to pursue what's in her soul. Beth and her need to break free from chains that bind her. And Kathleen with her undying loyalty. But beneath each of these character traits lays a common thread, one that permeates not only the town of Baileyville, but anyone who brushes up against it, reader included. Courage.
To talk about doing something is one thing. To actually step out of your comfort zone, risk failure (in every definition of the term), and live true to what's in your heart? It doesn't sound that complicated, but it can be one of the most difficult things to do. Stepping into what your heart and soul calls you to do can be the most rewarding endeavor we take in life. And perhaps the most important. Maybe that is life.
While I won't tag this as my favorite Jojo Moyes book, I'm so happy I finally read it, to learn more about the Packhorse Library and to receive an encouraging dose of inspiration through the eyes of five women who continue to make a difference through their legacy of courage.
Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️
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