(Review) The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publisher and Publication Date: WaterBrook Press. September 15, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction. Christian fiction.
Pages: 368.
Source: I received a complimentary eBook NetGalley copy, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Reader’s of Christian fiction.
Rating: Okay.

Amazon link

1936. The Great Depression.
Addie Cowherd is a college student getting ready for final exams. She is summoned to the school office and is subsequently expelled for lack of funds. Addie is shocked her parents have not paid tuition. She returns home to find out her father lost his job and their home. Addie’s life has abruptly changed.
Addie takes a job with the WPA program delivering library books to the rural people of Boone’s Hollow, Kentucky.
Emmett Tharp has just graduated from college. He returns home to Boone’s Hollow and is unable to find a job with his degree. He first works in a coal mine. He then is able to work for the WPA program as a librarian.

My Thoughts:
It isn’t that I don’t like this story. I do. But not enough to give it a good rating.

I’ve written this statement before and I probably will again. Sometimes secondary characters are more interesting to me than the main characters. I want to know more about the secondary character. I want that person to be further developed. To be fleshed out and breathing. The secondary character in this story is a young woman named Bettina Webber. Bettina was born and raised in this hollow. She has her “cap” set on marrying Emmett. Her mother died. She doesn’t have siblings. She has an abusive father. She is lucky to have a good job as a rider on horseback delivering library books to her people. Now, my question is does Bettina want to marry Emmett because she feels he is her savior from her “world?” Possibly. He is a person who is safe and secure. Does the idea of marrying Emmett give her hope? Does the idea of marrying Emmett give her mind somewhere to go besides the stark reality of her own life? All these are interesting questions for further development.
Bettina is the person who is in trouble. She is the person who desperately needs help. She is the person who is in a dire situation.
Whereas, Addie Cowherd has a college background. She has supportive parents. She has experience working in a library. She has the promise of life beyond the hollow and Kentucky.
While reading the story I felt an investment in Bettina and not so much Addie.
Emmett seems more like a bookend to hold up a part of the story. To me he is expendable.
One of the things I love about this story is the environment of the hollow. I love the descriptions of the land and the town. I love the culture of the people. I love the added background story of Nanny Fay. The people don’t understand her. When people don’t understand something or someone they can turn it into fear. This too is an idea to be explored in-depth.

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow is Christian fiction. Some of the themes are faith and trust in God, being kind to people who are not kind, bravery, courage, and perseverance.

To read more about the WPA program: History.com.


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