The Librarian of Boone's Hollow
Published by WaterBrook & Multnomah
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Kentucky Great Depression - US - 1929-1939
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
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?
Inspired by the real WPA program that sent librarians on horseback to deliver books to hill families in Kentucky, Kim Vogel Sawyer immersed herself in Appalachian history to tell this captivating story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow is such a beautiful story of faith, hope, and love! I loved the way that both Addie and Emmett clung tightly to their faith and the things their parents had taught them. Each showed strength of character when faced with superstition, prejudice, and suspicion.
Told through the eyes of several of the characters, I was able to see the hardships faced in the mountain communities steeped in ancient rivalries and superstition. I was quite touched by Bettina’s plight, despite how much she made me not want to like her! I was impressed, also, by the way the author made each narrator’s voice sound so different from the others.
I loved reading about the packhorse librarians, commissioned by the WPA to provide jobs and promote literacy. And to think they made such high salaries like $25 a week!
Sadly, one of the characters endured violence at the hand of her father. While this is mentioned, there are no descriptions of these abusive acts, just the after-effects of bruising, self-depreciation, and fear.
Kim Vogel Sawyer did such a beautiful job of keeping the story pointing to Jesus. Nanny Fay, one of my very favorite characters, was such an example of grace and forgiveness towards the community that shunned her and refused to allow her to feel she was a part of it. She continually exhibited the love of God and shared the pearls of her wisdom to Addie.
If you enjoy historical fiction with a strong faith element, I encourage you to read The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow.