Do you wish to read a novel about strong independent women? This could be the novel for you. How about a novel about friendship between women? Or a novel about the love of books and reading? A novel filled with beautiful nature surroundings, harsh and stunning Kentucky mountains?
This novel MIGHT fit perfectly under all of these descriptions. It is a heart warming, lovely story about women who get together beating the odds, the conventional and primitive little town and their own narrow minded men to do what they love – spreading books.
This is a story about pioneer librarians in the wild, doing their best to educate people about literature, culture and their own place in the world. Fitting in is not easy and neither of them do really fit in, they struggle with stereotypes of what a woman should be like.
“There is always a way out of a situation. Might be ugly. Might leave you feeling like the earth has gone and shifted under your feet. But there is always a way around.”
With all that said, I did enjoy this novel, but had one big problem with the ending. Both strong-willed women in this novel, Alice and Margery, women with a mind of their own, constantly fighting the established people and the predominant way of thought, decided to “settle down” in a completely traditional way.
Margery was against marriage and for pure love and an unbounded relationship, but in the (happy) end she decided against it and married – anyway. Alice who was disappointed in marriage, better to say with a bad husband, decided nothing else but to marry again, this time her new love.
The ending seems to make the whole novel seem futile, empty and meaningless.
“Not much point worrying what the town thinks about you – nothing you can do about that anyway.
But when you look outwards, why, there’s a whole world of beautiful things.”
Why would a woman be admirable for fighting the establishment when she, in the end, turns out to be exactly the same as the establishment? To fight against something only to end up being the same. Identical, content, happy.
If only Margery hadn’t married, but stayed in a happy relationship with Sven, this would have been a great novel. This way it is the same as the most romance novel out there, stale, kitchy, mainstream. Leaving me with a bittersweet aftertaste.