A Strand of Hope by Amanda Tero

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Find it on: Goodreads | Kindle | Paperback | Audiobook

Age Appropriate For: 10 and up (for some thematic elements)

Best for Ages: 12-25

Description:  Journey with a horseback librarian into the hidden crevices of Kentucky mountains. Feel her pain as she struggles not only to barely make ends meet but as she also attempts to connect the pieces of her own life while her mom continues to make selfish decisions.

Lena Davis is the daughter her mom never wanted.

But she survived. Through stories. Because books didn’t judge. Books weren’t angry she was alive. Books never expected her to be anything but who she was.

As she grows up, her beloved library becomes her true home. So when the library is designated part of President Roosevelt’s Packhorse Library Project, Lena is determined to get the job of bringing books to highlanders, believing she’ll finally be free of her mom forever.

But earning the trust of highlanders is harder than she imagined, and her passion for books might not be enough to free her from her chains.

I was very excited about this series. I mean, it was such a fun historical concept. I’m happy to say that Amanda Tero did an amazing job developing her characters, historical setting, and also getting a message that had some real impact.

Lena is a character that I intently felt I both understood and wanted to protect. True, I don’t live in a situation anything like Lena, but she reacted much like I suspect I would. I felt like her character depth and how she grows with the story shows also how Tero is progressing as a writer. Lena was not as flat as some of her characters have been.

Tero did a great job in this story with balancing being realistic, without giving a lot of unnecessary detail. It’s obvious that Lena’s mother leads a pretty sinful lifestyle and is verbally abusive to her daughter. Yet, it’s written in a way that a young person can read it and understand most of what is going on without feeling dirty. 

Book lovers will enjoy not only the refinances to libraries and books, but also get a glimpse into this interesting program from the ’30s. Roosevelt’s Packhorse Library Project I feel, from my limited knowledge, was shown well. The challenges, as well as joys, are shown. 

While a shorter book, Tero still managed to have a powerful and well-executed message. I felt like the ending was beautiful, realistic, and showed the love and forgiveness of Christ in a way many people can relate to. 

I highly recommend this book for teens, those who enjoy historical fiction, and anyone interested in the packhorse librarians. 


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