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Summary

Eastern Kentucky, 1937.

After the death of her husband, Ada Donovan returned home to live again with her aging parents. She does all she can to help them keep the small family farm going. But times are hard, and there’s never enough.

During one of her infrequent visits to town, she sees a help-wanted notice for the Pack Horse Librarian Project, seeking librarians to ride up high in the mountains and bring books to the people there. Before her marriage, Ada was a teacher, and the thought of returning to the work she loved is impossible to resist. The mountains are her favorite place, books are her great joy, and her horse is her best friend.

But not everyone on the mountain is happy to see her.

Living in a crumbing cabin at the highest, most isolated point of Ada’s route, there’s a family that catches her attention. The father keeps to the shadows. There is no mother to dote on the happy, curious children. But soon, Ada comes to love them just as fiercely as the woman they lost.

And makes it her mission to bring them the world.

©2018 Susan Fanetti (P)2019 Susan Fanetti

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  • Foxy Blogs
  • 24-10-19

Wow! A book lovers dream!

I've had the pleasure to both read this book and listen to it, and I have to say either way it's one of the best books I've read.

“The Pack Horse Library Project was a Works Progress Administration program that delivered books to remote regions in the Appalachian Mountains between 1935 and 1943. Women were very involved in the project which eventually had 30 different libraries serving 100,000 people.”

Carry the World is set in 1937 in Kentucky’s Appalachian mountain area. Ada is a widow who is taking care of her ailing parents. A job opportunity arises for a Pack Horse Librarian which would allow her struggling family a little breathing room. Ada took on the job to carry the world of books to isolated areas in the vast mountain range. Her path leads her to a widower and his children. Their journey to happiness is not an easy one but one that feels authentic.


Carry the World is a standalone historical romance set 100 years ago in the remote Appalachian mountains. It transforms a real event, Pack Horse Librarians, and throws in a dash of romance to recreate what it might have been like back in those long-ago days. If you are a lover of books and romance then this book has your name written all over it. Read or Listen to it, either way, you won’t be disappointed.

To learn more about the ‘Pack Horse Librarians Project’ NPR did a 6-minute talk on it. https://www.npr.org/2018/09/13/647329067/the-pack-horse-librarians-of-eastern-kentucky

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  • shaundra estrada
  • 21-10-19

Wonderful Book

Loved everything about this story! The voices were spot on! Cant wait for "Move the Sun" on audible my favorite book EVER!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-22

Review

Lovely story. Narration was great. I would recommend this story. Kept my interest throughout the whole book.

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  • Joan Miller
  • 17-01-22

This book has it all!

Such a wonderful book! It has all the elements of an enthralling story, one of the best I’ve read/listened to in a long time, outstanding narration, too!

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  • Dawn L.
  • 24-10-21

One of my new favorite books

This book is such a great story. The heroine is plucky and the hero is grumpy but sympathetic. I love that I learned something I didn't know about how library books were distributed during this time.
The narrator is really good with a voice that is easy to listen to. I'll be on the lookout for other books read by this narrator.

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  • Ashley M
  • 04-06-21

Beautiful story about at tough librarian

Wow did this story come to life! In great part to the beautiful narration, I was able to just sit back and close my eyes and allow the beautiful prose and landscapes of the story wash over me. It wasn’t an action/adventure or thriller mystery but I still found myself fully engaged and laughing, smiling, and crying with the characters. There is a lot of loss and hardship in the book but an immense amount of hope too. The love story is sweet and slow and very REAL feeling- you could see your own grandparents with similar circumstances and dilemmas. Since it’s set in the 30s and there’s some light references, there IS a sort of feeling of doom, like things were bad but about to get worse (that somewhat gets addressed in the epilogue). The horseback librarian aspect was really fascinating and well written and makes you want to learn more. I thought that Ada’s mom’s decision to live up the mountain seemed like a very convenient resolution to a number of problems but the ending was so satisfying any little quibbles are only that. It was a great and engaging story on so many levels- I’m so glad I read it!

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  • Ezinwanyi
  • 05-09-20

Depression-Era Romance done well

I really enjoyed this audiobook! It was such an endearing and heartwarming love story. I can’t believe it’s my first time reading this author or listening to this narrator, Eleanor Caudill, who did a great job. Her voice fit the characters and added to my enjoyment of the story. Between the well done plot and the narrators voice, the listener is in for an awesome ride.

Ada was a widower who worked as a Pack Horse Librarian to help ease the financial burden for her elderly parents. On her route, she met Jonah, a widower who wss raising his two kids in a remote area. After delivering books to them for some time, Ada formed an attachment to Jonah’s son and daughter. Jonah didn’t approve of the new connection because he was still grieving the death of his wife. He didn’t want his kids to forget her or replace their mom with this new woman.
Slowly, the consistency, patience and kindness that Ada showed Jonah’s kids chipped away at his wall. In time, Ada proved just too sweet and charming for Jonah not to fall for her.
What I loved about the Ada are the same things that I loved about Jonah. They had inner strength and a lot of love to give and a sense of family. They fit each other and were the missing piece in the other’s life.

The author did a great job developing the characters because I felt like I was on the journey to survive these harsh circumstances with them. The reader got a chance to really get to know the characters and what their values were. The romance and the courting felt subtle and respectable. If you want overt sexuality and explicit sex scenes, this book will not hit the spot since it wasn’t appropriate for the time period.

This is my first book by Susan Fanetti, but it will not be my last. I recommend it to those who love historical romance, especially American depression-era stories. This own will tug on your heart strings.

*** I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. ***

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  • The Book Butterfly
  • 04-09-20

On the Precipice of Something...

This novel took me on an emotional and romantic journey with wonderful characters that drew me into the heart of their tale, capturing both my attention and my affection along the way. It takes place in eastern Kentucky during the Great Depression and focuses on two good people who have endured their share of hardship, pain, and loss, but who persevere out of love and a strong sense of responsibility for their families

When their paths cross, their lives are forever changed.

Ada Donovan is an educated woman, a former teacher (who was forced by the system to give up the position she loved when she married), and a widow. When her dear husband passes away, she returns to her aging parents' farm where they all do what they can in order to survive. When she has the opportunity to become a Pack Horse Librarian, bringing books to the people “the world forgot” in the Appalachian Mountains, it is the answer to her prayers. The position allows her to spend time in nature with her beloved horse, Henrietta (otherwise known as Hen), teach literacy, share stories, make enough money to care for her parents, and keep them all afloat.

It also brings her into the lives of reclusive widower, Jonah Walker, and his two children, Elijah Moses, and Bluebird Hope, who live high in the mountains away from civilization. Jonah, still grieving for the wife he lost several years before, lives only for his children, and works hard for all of their survival. He has no interest in strangers and isn’t welcoming when Ada first appears on the scene. Still, there is something about this 'book woman' (who is so good with his children) that allows her to slowly, but surely, find her way into their isolated existence and into their hearts. Jonah tries to keep her at a distance as he grapples with both his memories of the past and his attraction to her, but life has other plans...

When tragedy strikes, turning their worlds upside down, deeper feelings can no longer be denied.

I didn’t know anything about the Pack Horse Librarian Project so I appreciated learning more about it. The loving and intimate relationship that develops between Jonah and Ada was a pleasure to watch unfold. It was also lovely to witness the familial bonds that formed between Ada, Jonah, Elijah and Bluebird, and to share in all the touching, beautiful moments between them. Ada’s loving, respectful way with her parents and her adorable interactions with Hen spoke volumes to me about who she was. I had a good sense of why she was adored by so many of the people whose lives she touched.

Myriad aspects of this tale made my heart smile.

Ms. Fanetti’s emphasis on relationships, the gender dynamics of the time, and the realities of human behavior (both positive and negative), as well as on education and a passion for books, made this novel a joy to both read and listen to. Though some might perceive this to be a simple story, I feel there is a depth and wisdom revealed within these pages as the author takes us back in time. It shows how the connections we make, as well as the love we both give and receive, can bring hope, healing, and renewed faith on our human journey. And that unexpected answers and other blessings will sometimes manifest just when we need them most...

Eleanor Caudill gave a wonderful narrative performance and her voice had a warm, soothing tone that worked well for me. I was never at a loss in terms of which character was speaking at any given time and I truly enjoyed this audiobook.

So much so that I fully intend to listen to it again in future.

*** I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. ***

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-20

A very sweet, touching, realistic story.

I loved this story of a life spent be in the 1800's, when there were few conveniences, and Life was hard.

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  • Shoppermom
  • 18-08-20

An unexpected gem

Fool me! I requested and received a copy of this audiobook from the author, not knowing until two minutes ago that she was an established and well-reviewed writer. And there I was, thinking I had stumbled onto an unknown newcomer with astonishing talent. Well, she has astonishing talent, but apparently, a lot of readers knew that already. Carry the World is a beautiful book: quiet, undemanding, full of honor, hard work, devotion to family, and a poignant love story. I was captivated from the very beginning and very sad to come to the end. Now I'm off to hunt down her other books.