When Ivory Bledsoe left the city to minister to the people of the rural mountain town of Willow Hollow, she never expected to be shunned rather than welcomed. Seeing the town as a lost cause, she’s eager to return home, but when the bridge leading out of town is washed away during a flood, she finds herself stranded in the last place she wants to be.
Ben Thrasher was content with his quiet life until he met the new librarian. He can’t help but be drawn to the friendly and lively Ivory Bledsoe, despite her being at the center of the town’s latest superstition. It’s only a matter of time until she captures his heart, turning his world upside down in the process.
Has Ivory gotten God’s plan for her all wrong or is there still a way she can serve these people? And can Ben ask her to stay in a place where so few are willing to embrace her?
Ivory Bledsoe goes to Willow Hollow, Kentucky, with the anticipation of becoming a horseback librarian delivery books to the people. Her dreams are dashed once she arrives, to find she is assigned to the library building.
The storyline was an interesting one filled with loneliness and despair from not being accepted. The romantic part of the story evolved at a good pace and brought the story together nicely.
Forgiveness and acceptance into the community was an underlying theme. The book was easy to read with just the right amount of tension to keep me engaged.
I received an ARC copy from the author and willingly choose to review it.
Historical Note on Librarians
The Pack Horse Library Project was a WPA program during the Great Depression. The goal was to deliver books to remote regions in the Appalachian Mountains and to provide jobs. Here are some interesting facts:
The horseback libraries weren’t the brainchild of the WPA. The first pack horse library was created by the Kentucky Federation of Women’s Clubs starting in 1896 but lack of roads and populated areas made it rather difficult to succeed in eastern Kentucky.
There was another pack horse library in Paintsville, KY in 1913 but ended in 1914 due to lack of funding.
The first pack horse library during the Great Depression was started in Leslie County.
Women were the primary employees for this project.
The project eventually had 30 libraries, serving 100,000 and employing nearly 200 people.
The horseback librarians were often referred to as “book ladies” or “book women.”
When the material became too worn to circulate, they glued pictures and articles into scrapbooks and circulated scrapbooks. Recipes and quilt designs were very popular.
Even though local women were employed, they were visiting areas much more remote and weren’t often trusted right away by the people they served.
One of their solutions for gaining the trust of the people was to read passages from the Bible out loud as they traveled. Many of the people had heard about the Bible through oral stories and would recognize what was being read and consider the librarian and her books as trustworthy.
Even though the books were free, the people often gifted the librarians with something in exchange for the loan.
There are so many more things that can be shared about this fascinating job. I encourage you to read the Librarians of Willow Hollow novellas and other horseback librarian books or articles.
Secret Code #5: out
Besides being an Indie Author, I’m a wife, mother of four, Sunday School teacher, sweet tea drinker, history fanatic, romantic, bubbly, lover of broccoli, and a retired cake decorator who has a soft spot for Christmas trees, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. What I’m not is a laundress (or at least not one who keeps up very well), a duster, tall, or patient in a doctor’s office.
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