Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Review: The Librarian of Boone's Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

The Librarian of Boone's Hollow
by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback and rediscovers her passions in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.

During the Great Depression, Addie Cowherd dreams of being a novelist and offering readers the escape that books gave her during her tragic childhood. When her adoptive father loses his job, she is forced to leave college and take the only employment she can find--delivering books on horseback to poor coal mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

The small community of Boone's Hollow is suspicious of outsiders and steeped in superstitions that leave Addie feeling rejected and indignant. Although she finds an unexpected friend in an elderly outcast, the other horseback librarians scorn her determination to befriend Nanny Fay.

Emmett Tharp grew up in the tiny mountain hamlet where most men either work in the coal mine or run moonshine. He's the first in the community to earn a college degree, and he has big dreams, but witnesses the Depression robbing many young men of their future.

Then someone sets out to sabotage the library program, going so far as to destroy Addie's novel in progress. Will the saboteur chase Addie and the other librarians away, or will knowledge emerge victorious over prejudice? Is Emmett the local ally that Addie needs--and might their friendship lead to something more?

Kritters Thoughts:  The third book I have read this year that focuses on the packhorse librarians and their impact to their communities.  This book is told through Addie Cowherd who is not from the community in Kentucky where she ends up working as a librarian and the outside feeling is a huge theme in this book.  

I think the only big similarities in the books is their laser focus on the packhorse librarian concept.  I don't mind when historical fiction books end up looking at the same moment in time - how many World War II books come out each month?!  The other thing that felt similar was the inclusion of a character who is abusive and I can imagine that people living in this moment in time with limited resources and the inability to take care of themselves could resort to violence to try to "solve" their problems.  

The outsider feeling for me was the standout theme of the book and I appreciated how the author made me the reader feel even more of an outsider as I saw these communities through the eyes of Addie.  She was shunned so much and I wanted to shake the people that she was there for honest reasons.  

This book didn't highlight the people receiving the books as much as the other two packhorse books did and I think I missed that.  We learned more about the librarians themselves, but I would have enjoyed learning more about those who were getting the books and what that meant to them.  

If you have read the other two packhorse librarian books, I would still suggest you read this one to complete the circle.  

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 90 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from WaterBrook & Multnomah.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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