Monday, March 06, 2023

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

Addie Cowherd is in her 3rd year at University of Kentucky during the depression years hoping to accomplish her dreams of becoming a writer when the rug is pulled out from underneath her.  After losing his job her father is no longer able to pay for her school bills or her lodging and Addie must leave the university.  Not finding a job in the city, she is recommended by her former library employer for a job delivering books by horseback to poor families in the hills of Kentucky.  When she arrives she finds a town and people very wary of outsiders.  With this already against her, Addie struggles to make friends and be accepted only to have things become even harder when generations old superstitions against the Nanny Fay, the woman she finds lodging with, causes her to be swept up in the fear and grudges against the old woman. When Emmet Tharp returns home from the same university degree in hand but unable to find a job in the city due to the economy, he is faced with having to get a job at the same coal mine his father works at.  While this pleases his father, it is not what Emmet had in mind.  When an opportunity arises to take charge of the packhorse librarian program in his community, he wonders if the chasm between him and his father will ever be repaired.  Will Addie and Emmett ever realize the hope of having the books they deliver actually change the people and bring compassion and understanding to the community instead of the division that has existed?

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a Christian author and has brought the element of faith, love and forgiveness into a packhorse librarian story.  It is definitely a character driven story that deals with a lot of issues including family violence, prejudice, assumptions, forgiveness and perserverance.  The story is told in mulitple perspectives so you do get a well rounded look into the life of not only packhorse librarians but also the the people of the community who live very hard lives.  In spite of everything it deals with it is easy to read as it flowed so well.  While it did seem to not wrap up fully I have found out that there is a sequel:  "Return to Boone's Hollow".    While it was not a page turning, can't put it down type of read it was absolutely a story I enjoyed.  

I rated it an 8/10.  On goodreads it ended up a 3/5 because of how they define their ratings but translated to a rating out of 10 it definitely deserves higher than a 6. 


Faith said...

I've read a couple of her novels and liked them. This one sounds good! I just reviewed a secular fiction one that UGH......the ending was crap. I now feel like i totally wasted a week on that book.

Deb J. in Utah said...

Sounds like a little different take on the Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek story. I think that the story of the packhorse librarians is an absolutely fascinating and until recently forgotten part of history. Thanks for the review. I will be on the lookout for this book, because I sure enjoyed Bookwoman!

Barbara Harper said...

I enjoy Kim's books. When I heard of this, it sounded like The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, minus the blue people. But this does sound different enough to enjoy. I will keep an eye out for it.