Friday, February 14, 2020

Book Review: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Rating: Five out of five stars
Published: 05/07/2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre(s): Historical Fiction


The bestselling historical fiction from Kim Michele Richardson, this is a novel following Cussy Mary, a packhorse librarian and her quest to bring books to the Appalachian community she loves, perfect for readers of Lee Smith and Lisa Wingate. The perfect addition to your next book club!

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy's family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she's going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.

MY THOUGHTS (Short and Sweet)

 The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is one of those books that both fiction and non-fiction readers will get much out of. The history is well researched and the fictional characters are vividly portrayed. Cussy Mary Carter—the book woman—is an extraordinarily enduring and empathetic character. This poignant novel will certainly leave a lasting impact.


The disgrace had fixed itself to my soul like it had life, the rawness, black and heavy like a lump of Kentucky coal that would find its dirty way into our home.


Pa didn’t have as much as two nickels to rub together, and I know’d he worked eighteen-hour days for two weeks straight for that little extra. The Company didn’t like for the Kentucky man to feel a dollar in his pocket, and they’d pay the miners mostly in Company scrip—credit that could only be used at the Company store—to make sure of just that.


It didn’t feel right taking the gift. The bread was likely the only thing she had to eat for the week. And food was the most valuable thing you could give someone—the most generous gift a Kaintuck folk could bestow on another.


Winnie clasped her hands. “If only we could get more outreach programs up here. If only they could send a block of cheese with every book, a loaf of bread.” She tilted her head to the sky as if telling it all to God. I wished it too. Their hunger for books could teach them of a better life free of the hunger, but without food they’d never live long enough or have the strength to find it.

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