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The Librarian's Journey

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Member Reviews

I've recently become entranced by stories of librarians who ride pack horses (and sometimes pack mules). Many novels have been written about these brave women and their sometimes risky jobs. The Librarian's Journey tells the story of four fictional females and their motivations for becoming pack horse librarians, as well as the hardships they faced.

The women who worked as packhorse librarians were employed as part of the New Deal's Works Progress Administration (WPA). Although the program was officially limited to Kentucky, there were sponsors from other states, as indicated in a couple of the book's stories. These sponsors provided financial support to the young women who were fortunate enough to be chosen for the positions.

I enjoyed reading each story because they detailed the different personalities of the librarians and the terrain the ladies experienced. My heart ached, however, because practically everyone they serviced was impoverished and lived in abject and seemingly hopeless circumstances. They all greatly appreciated the librarians and the books and magazines they furnished.

Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Marilyn Turk and Kathleen Y'Barbo have all done an outstanding job by strikingly portraying the subject of packhorse librarians, as well as the obstacles, challenges, heartaches and joys inherent in their duties and responsibilities.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.
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Four engrossing stories about traveling librarians     Who find love in the process. The stories are charming and enjoyable.  
Many thanks to Barbour Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Unfortunately, I never got the chance to finish reading this book before the license ended. I was greatly enjoying what I read, but didn't get far enough in to leave much of a review.
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I'm a sucker for books about librarians. I'm even a a bigger sucker for stories and books about the pack horse librarians of the depression. Those women were superheroes.  And while I enjoyed all of the novellas in this collection. my favorite was Book Lady of the bayou because always wondered how a librarian would get books to people living on the bayou. And The librarian and the lawman I just love that title and it's set in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky my homes state and I love books set in Kentucky especially the pack horse librarians of Eastern Kentucky as that was the most famous pack horse librarian program during the Great Depression  because the illiteracy rate among adults was so high. And books were a treasure.  But unfortunately  Kentucky especially Eastern Kentucky today still has a high adult illiteracy rate.  And we want to cut funding to libraries  have we not learned from history.
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This collection of four historical Christian novellas is fabulous. Set in the 1930’s when the government had established horseback librarians, it takes readers to Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and the Ozarks on various adventures. I was fascinated by all four of these tales. Times were very different and much harder then.

Novella compilations are a great way to sample new authors. I had not read a couple of these authors, but really enjoyed all four stories. They were entertaining, based on history, and taught me more about the program. It was hard to pace myself and not read this entire collection in one sitting.

I highly recommend this. It gets a 4 star rating from me. A copy was provided by Net Galley, but these are my honest words.
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I had not heard of the Pack Horse Library Incentive in the 1930's. What a wonderful thing that these featured ladies would travel into remote areas. Taking books to those who may never had the pleasure of visiting a library to discover the wonder of where a book could take them. From the Ozarks, Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky these stories were a delightful read and nice lesson in History.  I received a copy through NetGalley, no review was required. My opinion and review are voluntary.
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This is a novel of four stories about the women of the Appalachia and the pack library. Each one helped families find books for children to read going to extraordinary lengths to do so. I love stories about the pack libraries and I am glad that this one lived up to my expectations.
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The Librarian’s Journey is a compilation of four excellent books set in the Great Depression from Barbour Publishing.  Cynthia Hickey wrote Love’s Turning Page which takes place in the Ozark Mountains.  Grace Billings was delighted when she got the job as a traveling librarian.  She knew she would be bringing joy in the delivery of the books and with the aid of the local schoolteacher, she was able to help them even more.
	Patty Smith Hall wrote For Such a Time which took place in the Pine Mountain, Georgia.  Having just lost her nursing job, Ruth Sims returns home to accept the job as the traveling librarian.  Her nursing skills come into play for one of her readers.
	Marilyn Turk delivers Book Lady of the Bayou.  Borrowing a horse from her family, she sets out to deliver books throughout the county over many treacherous paths and swamps.  One little girl captures her heart and so does her daddy.  
	Kathleen Y’Barbo brings us The Librarian and the Lawman.  This starts out in WV but then the story moves to Kentucky years later when Lottie Bee Trent accepts the position of a traveling librarian for a small library in the hills of Kentucky.  Her childhood flame has moved up to become an FBI agent tracking a criminal gang in the same area.  The two must forget the past hurts and join forces to help each other.
	This historical compilation was a great read about the packhorse librarians, and I highly recommend it.
	I was given a free copy of this book for review and the opinion is my own.  #TheLibrarian’sJourney #BarbourPublishing #CynthiaHickey #PattySmithHall #MarilynTurk #KathleenY’Barbo
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These 4 novellas are set during the Great Depression in the Appalachia (Apple-at-cha, just doing my part to spread the correct pronunciation!) Mountains. Wonderful stories and as someone who’s job it is to help kids find books to read on a daily basis, this had my heart. I enjoyed all of them, and loved the historical aspect of this book.
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Until recently I had no idea that the WPA jobs included librarians! The Librarian's Journey is a collection of stories about four female librarians who were hired by the government during the Great Depression and delivered books by either mule or horseback to poor families in the mountains. They weren't always welcomed but for some of the people this was their only contact with people outside their family. You will love reading about the dangers these brave women faced and the love they show to the people on their book route! I recommend The Librarian's Journey to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I received a complimentary e-book through NetGalley. This is my honest opinion,
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If you want to just sit down with a nice warm beverage and a feel-good read, then this book of four novellas is for you!  You’ll get your “bookish” fix in also!  All the stories center on the brave librarians on horseback in the early to mid 1900’s, and the amazing, quirky mountain inhabitants they encountered.  There’s suspense, danger, family issues, and romance – what more could you ask for?

These horseback librarians brought joy, hope, and in many cases, companionship to the mountain residents. They often read to the folks, and some were even able to form reading programs for those who wanted to learn to read. 

Thank you to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
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I enjoyed the very wholesome 4  novellas from 4 different authors about librarians on horseback during the Depression. Really learned a lot about this part of American history and it stressed the importance of the written word for all people at all times. I could feel the joy that the librarians brought to their patrons, heartwarming!
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In this compilation of stories about librarians on horseback during the Great Depression, four different authors share heartwarming tales of adventure and romance based upon the rural book women who braved steep mountain trails to deliver books to those in need. Cozy up with these inspiring stories about faith and being available to meet the needs of country folk during trying times.
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The Librarian's Journey is a collection of novellas that tell the tales of four packhorse librarians during the Great Depression. Each of these brave women fought many challenges in an effort to bring literacy and knowledge to the mountain people they hold close to their hearts. 

The first novella, Love's Turning Page, introduces us to Grace Billings. Grace had no idea what she was really signing up for when she took a job as a travelling librarian. She only wanted to help the people around her experience the books she loved so much, and help out her family while she was at it. She had no idea that the mountain people, and the handsome schoolteacher, would completely capture her heart. I really enjoyed this one. Grace bravely faced every challenge that came her way, and Anthony's love for the people (and Grace) was sweet to see. 

For Such A Time is the second story, and my personal favourite. Ruth Sims thought she had left the mountain life behind for good when she left to become a nurse. However, recent job cuts have sent her back to the hills where she grew up, and she's left with no other option than to take a job as a packhorse librarian. Imagine her surprise when she finds herself working with the man who stole her heart, only to leave it shattered on the ground when she left. I loved Will and Ruth's story. Despite the pain they shared, they kept their faith strong and found their way past the secrets that had hurt them so deeply while also working together to bring a love of reading to the people around them. 

The third novella is Book Lady of the Bayou. Lily Bee Davis finds life as a book lady much more difficult than she'd imagine. Travelling through swamps on horseback and even taking a few boat rides, she does her best to bring literacy to the people of the bayou. On one of her trips, she meets a sweet little girl named Evie who lives at a rundown plantation with her reclusive musician father. Lily Bee is smitten with both Evie and her father immediately and wants nothing more than to help them find joy again. Personally, I struggled with this one. I felt like it was very rushed and the characters fell in love unrealistically quickly. 

Finally, The Librarian and the Lawman wraps up this little collection quite nicely. Lottie Trent has always been hiding from something, but that all changes when she finally uncovers the family secret and takes a job as a librarian. She never dreamed her new job would bring her face-to-face with a backwoods bully or that her long-lost love would suddenly reappear in her life. But Clay isn't the young boy she fell in love with any longer. He has become an FBI agent, and he's hot on the tail of a gang located somewhere in the nearby mountains. I really enjoyed this novella. The plot was interesting and easy to follow, and although I quickly figured out who was behind the gang, I was surprised by some of the twists. 

All in all, The Librarian's Journey is a fantastic collection. As a major bookworm myself, I've always been fascinated by the idea of a packhorse librarian and read as many novels about it as I can find. If you enjoy historical fiction or just love a good story about books, you won't want to miss this one. 

*I received a complimentary copy of The Librarian's Journey through the publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. My positive review is not required.
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A collection of stories about the traveling librarians of the early 1900s, The Librarian's Journey consists of Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey, For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall, Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk, and The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo. It is a piece of history that I have never heard of, and I was so excited to read it! I actually saw it through bookstagram which is cool! Each of these stories is about the women's journey, how they grew and found their place within a difficult and changing world, as well as how they find love. Each story was different, but they were all so enjoyable to read. I mean what bookworm hasn't thought about being a librarian at one point or another?
Love's Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey 
Grace and her family live in the Ozark mountains amidst the Great Depression. With a large family, times are tight. When a position as a traveling librarian opens up, Grace jumps at the opportunity. But there are dangers and secrets in the mountains, Grace will need to find help from the local schoolteacher. I really liked Grace and her family. It was fun to see how close they were and how they supported one another. Grace was very relatable, doing her best to work hard and help out her family. I enjoyed reading about all the interesting characters she met along her route too! Anthony was also a sweetheart! He really wanted people to learn and was willing to help. Even though he was also trying to keep his focus on work, he was interested in Grace. They both had to get past what they thought that their futures should look like, especially once their hearts got involved. There were also some suspenseful parts of the story that Grace and Anthony went through, which gave the story a bit more excitement. 
For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall
Ruth Sims is disappointed to be back in her hometown working as a traveling librarian after losing her nursing position in Atlanta. She feels aimless and adrift. Having to work alongside her one-time fiance doesn’t make it any easier, especially with so much unresolved history. As they seek to aid their community with books and medical care, they also have to re-evaluate their lives and hearts. This one had a little bit of angst. Ruthie and Will were both dealing with past hurts and secrets. Neither was quite where they thought they would be and were adjusting to the changes of their lives. I was a little frustrated with Ruthie because she seemed a bit stuck in what she thought that her life should look like. But it was sweet to watch how her community (and Will!) changed her mind and helped her see that she could have a future there. Will was also very sweet, I loved his family! 
Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk
In the bayou of Mississippi, Lily Bee Davis travels to the remote areas by horse and boat to bring books as a traveling librarian. Coming upon a little girl named Evie and her reclusive father in a run-down plantation pulls at her heart, she hopes to help them find life and light again. This one was cute too! I love children and families in stories, so this appealed to me right off the bat. Evie was really cute and she took to Lily so fast. It was really sweet the way that the whole community took to Lily. That was an element that I enjoyed in all of the stories actually, the connections each woman made along her trail. Lily’s grandpa was also such a lovely character, I loved his faith. I also enjoyed how they all grew and went outside of their comfort zones, and found blessings through it.
The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Lottie Trent finds more excitement than she expects when she connects with the wife of a backwoods bully and starts carrying messages for her in exchange for the books she carries. But FBI agent Clayton, who is on the trail of a criminal gang is also looking for answers and Lottie might be one of them. I enjoyed the second chance romance in this one, it was really sweet. It is always nice for the couple to have some prior history, it feels like the romance has more to help it move along. This one had more of a suspense element with Clay being an FBI agent and the investigation. It was fun to read about! The characters were really fun to read about, I enjoyed their dynamic. It was cool to read about the FBI back then because it is not something I usually see in historical fiction.
Overall, this was a fun collection! I generally enjoy anthologies and this theme was especially fun! Like I said, I have always had a dream of being a librarian and I liked the community aspect of these stories with the librarian’s trails. I would recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction with romance and some had a bit of suspense too! This is clean with faith elements.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required. 
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This is a period of US history that fascinates me. I don't know that I would have had the courage displayed by the four woman portrayed in these stories. Each author added her own perspective with endearing woman each of whom faced her own set of difficulties. This was both enjoyable and educational.
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I love learning about the history of the packhorse librarians, it is a job that I probably would have wanted if I had been born during this time! Unfortunately I wish there would have been more of an emphasis on the history and details of the life of a packhorse librarian and less of a focus on the romance in the story.
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The Librarian’s Journey is a collection of four historical novellas about the pack-horse librarians of 1936. Part of FDR’s campaign to lift America out of The Great Depression, he instituted this service to have mobile libraries go where cars and bookmobiles couldn’t go. Librarians filled their saddle packs and rode to families that could not or would not visit the library in town. These stories are about four such fictional women.

Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey is a delightful story about a librarian and a schoolteacher who team up to teach reading and deliver books to the community. I loved the danger aspect in this story, too.

In This Moment by Patty Smith Hall is a story of lost love and rekindled friendship. It was fascinating how nursing could work along side the librarian’s work.

Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk is set in a formidable location. The librarian crosses the path of alligators and snakes to deliver her books. The path of a recluse with a daughter who loves to read, too.

The Lawman and the Librarian by Kathleen Y’Barbo is another story that wrapped danger into the life of a pack-horse librarian. The second half of the story had intrigue, rekindled relationship, and wonderful happy ending.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Barbour Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.
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4 short stories about women who have what would have been my dream job at that time in history. Easy to read quick romances with feisty book ladies and men who can't help falling for them.
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After completing and loving the first novella in this collection of four, I had to stop myself from  impulse buying a paperback copy to own. I wanted to make sure I would like most or all of the stories before buying. Needless to say, I placed my order halfway through the third. Each story was unique and exciting. I loved learning about the historical, brave book ladies. Love's Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey was my favorite of the four because I liked the main characters best. The fourth novella, The Librarian and the Lawman, was also a close contender. The story was structured so it seemed more like a full length novel. I plan to read more from each of these ladies in the future. If you enjoy historical romance with a little adventure, I recommend giving this collection a try.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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