Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Librarian of Boone's Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

The Librarian of Boone's Hollow
Book Summary

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer transports readers back to 1936.  Addie Cowherd is completing her junior year at the University of Kentucky.  Then she learns that she cannot finish the semester because her tuition has not been paid in three months.  Addie discovers that her father lost his job at the bank and has been unable to locate another position.  Addie is determined to help her parents who are currently living in one room at a boarding house.  She is fortunate to get a job as a horseback librarian in Boone’s Hollow as part of Kentucky Pack Horse Project created by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.  This small community is wary of outsiders.  Superstitions and grudges go back centuries.  Addie encounters unexpected difficulties because she is boarding with the kindly Nanny Fay.  Addie becomes determined to overcome the locals’ animosity and prejudice.
These librarians would adventure through muddy creeks and snowy hills just to deliver books to the people of these isolated areas.

Emmett Tharp is the first person in Boone’s Hollow to attend and graduate from college.  He is surprised at the difficulty in finding employment and is forced to seek work in the coal mines.  When the director of the library project is forced to relocate, Emmett is fortunate to get the position.  When Addie is unable to deliver any books, Emmett worries that he will have to let her go.  He wonders how they can overcome the residents’ attitude.  Then things begin disappearing from the library and one librarian seems determined to cause difficulty.  Emmett and Addie work together and pray that with God’s help, they will succeed.
"Soon-to-be-Mother Receiving Books From Pack-Horse Librarian" Mill Creek, KY, WPA -  This young mountain wife shortly is to become the mother of her first child. The WPA Pack Horse Librarian has for months furnished her with literature on hygiene and the care of infants.
My Thoughts

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a beautifully written historical novel.  The author captured the time-period and locale.  I felt that the author transported me into the hills of Kentucky where working in the coal mines was the main occupation.  There are some great characters in this story.  Addie Cowherd was fortunate when she was adopted by Fern and Penrose Cowherd.  They raised her to be resilient and to rely on God.  Emmett Tharp is proud to have completed high school and college.  He is a hard worker and a gentleman.  Nanny Fay was my favorite character.  She had such a cheery attitude despite how she is treated and the hardships she endures.  Nanny Fay was a woman of strong faith.  It was fascinating learning about the Kentucky Pack Horse Project.  Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to feed people minds.  Women worked long hours transporting reading materials by horseback or mule to remote farms.  The point-of-view switches between Addie, Emmett, and Bettina (a horseback librarian from Boone’s Hollow).  The author captured the mountain vernacular spoken by Bettina and the other mountain folk.  I like how the Christian message was present through the whole book.  It is wonderful that we are reminded to be kind to others and despite how one may be treated to “kill them with kindness” (a phrase my mother used with me when I was growing up).  I also liked the Scripture passages used in the book that supported the various messages.  The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow was a joy to read.  There are references to physical abuse in the story which, unfortunately, was common.  I like that the romance was not at the forefront.  Some wonderful classic books are mentioned in the story.  My favorite phrase came from Addie who loved books and said, “nothing more magical or as satisfying as a book.”  If you like to read Christian historical novels, then you should read The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow.  The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow is a special Christian tale with beloved books, a stubborn steed, a persistent person, a missing manuscript, surprising superstitions, and a gracious God.
Kentucky pack horse librarian delivers books, 1938.

The Librarian of Boone's Hollow can be obtained from Amazon* as well as other major booksellers (Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Waterstone's, Chapter's, Powell's).  You can find Kim Vogel Sawyer's other novels here.  The photos I included today are of actual horseback librarians. To learn more about the Pack Horse Librarians, click here.  Thank you for reading my review today.  I will be back tomorrow with The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson.  Today is my birthday!  I am off to enjoy dinner out with my mother.  I hope that you have a very special day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
A Kentucky mountain woman is here shown enjoying a book brought by a WPA pack horse librarian, 1930s.
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