PUBLISHED: 18:11, Sat, Nov 9, 2019 | UPDATED: 19:10, Sat, Nov 9, 2019
Jojo Moyes has become renowned through her powerful and heart wrenching stories, so much so that the tragic tale of Louisa Clark in Me Before You was turned into a Hollywood film starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. The novelist’s latest book focuses on another original story about the packhorse librarians, a group of women in 1930s post-Depression era America who fought the odds to deliver books to those in cabins and secluded corners of the Appalachian mountains in Kentucky. Instantly tugging at the heartstrings, Moyes’ book has made it onto Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club, so will only serve to receive wider-spread marketing and continue to rake in money and reviews.
But in the middle of the novel’s release, fellow author Richardson has claimed Moyes’ story features “alarming similarities” to her own novel, which was published months earlier in May.
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Richardson initially said she “could only hope there was more than enough room for more than one” novel on the subject, but revealed it wasn’t long before a blogger allegedly told her there were “specific similarities” between the two books.
“History is not proprietorial,” Richardson said. “[But] the disturbing similarities found in Moyes' book are too many and too specific and quite puzzling.
“None of the similarities found in Moyes' novel can be chalked up to the realities of history, nor can be found in any historical records, archives or photographs of the packhorse librarian project initiative that I meticulously studied. These fictional devices/ plot points were ones I invented.”
“The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes is a wholly original work,” a spokesperson for Penguin Random House offshoot Pamela Dorman later told the publication. “It is a deeply researched piece of historical fiction based on the true story of the Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky.
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Jojo Moyes: The Giver of Stars suffers blow in plagiarism claims (Image: GETTY • PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE)
“We have absolute confidence in the integrity of Jojo Moyes and her work. Neither the author nor anyone at Pamela Dorman Books has ever read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.”
Richardson's US and UK publisher Sourcebooks stated it was aware of Richardson's claims but would not be taking any action, saying: “We were made aware of the similarities and upon review by our legal team, it was determined that Sourcebooks would not be taking any further course of action.”
In July Moyes told The Bookseller she was in a race to release the story “before anyone else” could come up with the idea.
“Part of the reason why I wrote [The Giver Of Stars] so quickly was because I worried that someone else would write it before me,” she said.
Author Jenny Trout has also shared further claims on her Twitter account via a source.
“An anonymous source sent me some more information about Jojo Moyes's plagiarism of Kim Richardson's The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” she posted. “I’m going to just quote the relevant facts here and include the screenshot they sent at the end.
“Source says: ‘Regarding the Jojo Moyes situation, her publishers are lying when they say they were not aware of Kim Michele Richardson's book.
If you read the Buzzfeed piece, the Pamela Dorman spokeswoman says that Moyes turned her draft in on October 23, 2018, and that, 'Neither the author nor anyone at Pamela Dorman Books was aware of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek at this time.'
“Meanwhile, electronic galleys of Book Women were made available on Edelweiss and and Netgalley on September 23, 2018—a month before Moyes turned in her book.
“And, as the attached file shows, the people at Pamela Dorman Books downloaded Book Woman and listed it as a comp [comparison novel] for The Giver of Stars. Clearly they were well aware of it.
"Also, the Buzzfeed article missed an important point. Not only is Sourcebooks partially owned by PRH, but they used PRH's