Judith D Collins
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: 05/07/2019
My Rating: 5 Stars ++ Q&A with the Author
Top Books of 2019 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.
THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK is my favorite Southern historical/literary fiction this year.
An avid fan, Kim's BEST YET! Deeply rooted in the history of Appalachia, a "must-read" historical fiction novel for every book lover, blogger, author, librarian, and especially if you are a Southerner. Rich in history and character, a moving and emotional book of hope. —You will laugh and cry.
From the master storyteller, a haunting and moving tale of fierce strength and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home. Meticulously researched and well-written, I could not put THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK down. A perfect blending of fact and fiction.
You are going to LOVE learning more about Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, and the courage and altruistic nature of one particular traveling librarian, (blue-skinned) Cussy Mary Carter.
She was mistreated, facing many obstacles, but nothing would keep her down. She was unstoppable! I fell in love with her character and her loyal mule sidekick partner, Junia.
Heartwarming and heartbreaking. Her character will remain with you long after the book ends.
There is much intriguing and fascinating historical data. Kim has not missed a thing. From Methemoglobinemia (blue-skinned) Fugates, and their injustice. She knows Kentucky!
The Park Horse project (librarian program) changed many lives and these courageous women and men who traveled by horse, mule, and by foot through dangers to reach these people in rural areas. I also learned about courting candles and many other subjects.
I have read all Kim's books (one of my favorite Southern authors), and fell in love with her writing with her first book. Her strength, determination, and courage remind me of her character, Cussy. Overcoming one obstacle after another, nothing will keep these two women down.
Kim is authentic and cares for others. Her attention to detail is award-winning. Masterfully written. If you have not read this author, highly recommend all of her books. The #BookWoman should be at the top of your list! I would love to see a movie based on the book.
Stay tuned: A Q&A Interview with the Author Coming May 7, 2019 where you will learn the inspiration behind the book, photos, historical details, and lots of fun facts about the author. Plus you will want to hear about Kim's latest project: Shy Rabbit.
I am blown away by Kim's talent and her love of the written word, people, places, and history. Her passion is reflective through each of her books, as well as her work in, and out of her community. I am eager to share with you (in the event you have not heard) her latest bold, philanthropic, altruistic, and courageous project. What an incredible way to give back!
As a way to pay it forward, Kim has built a tiny home in the wilds of Kentucky to create a writers/ artists residency, named Shy Rabbit. Slated completion date spring of 2019. Shy Rabbit will provide scholarships and a food stipend several times during the year to writers anywhere who seek a contemplative and tranquil place to work and create. A NYC literary and film agent will review and select from the applicants.
Look for updates via Kim's social media, her website, and follow this incredible journey. I can only envision the talent which will pass through these doors over the years to come. Nothing is more special than a writer's retreat.
Join me, in congratulating Kim for making this special, generous and heartwarming gift possible to many who may not have an opportunity, otherwise.
Kim, you were born to tell this remarkable story! I was surprised, humbled and truly honored to see my name listed in the acknowledgments. A true gift, I will treasure.
A special thank you to the author, Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for a print and digital early reading copy.
Read My Reviews: The Sisters of Glass Ferry GodPretty In the Tobacco Field The Liar's Bench
Q & A view here
—The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
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“Richardson has penned an emotionally moving and fascinating story about the power of literary over bigotry, hatred, and fear." —Bookpage
"Richardson, a master of phrase, cadence, and imagery, once again delivers a powerful yet heartfelt story that gives readers a privileged glimpse into an impoverished yet rigidly hierarchical society, this time by shining a light on the courageous, dedicated women who brought books and hope to those struggling to survive on its lowest rung. Strongly recommended." —Historical Novel Society
"Kim Michele Richardson has written a fascinating novel about people almost forgotten by history: Kentucky’s pack-horse librarians and “blue people.” The factual information alone would make this book a treasure, but with her impressive storytelling and empathy, Richardson gives us so much more." —Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of One Foot in Eden and Serena
“Emotionally resonant and unforgettable, THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK is a lush love letter to the redemptive power of books. It is by far my favorite KMR book—and I am her huge fan. Cussy Mary is an indomitable and valiant heroine, and through her true-blue eyes, 1930s Kentucky comes to vivid and often harrowing life. Richardson's dialogue is note-perfect; Cussy Mary's voice is still ringing in my head, and the sometimes dark story she tells highlights such gorgeous, glowing grace notes that I was often moved to hopeful tears.” —Joshilyn Jackson New York Times bestselling author of The Almost Sisters
"Richardson's latest work is a hauntingly atmospheric love letter to the first mobile library in Kentucky and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and - just as importantly - a compassionate human connection. Richardson's rendering of stark poverty against the ferocity of the human spirit is irresistible. Add to this the history of the unique and oppressed blue-skinned people of Kentucky, and you've got an un-put-downable work that holds real cultural significance."— Sara Gruen, #1 NYT bestselling author of Water for Elephant
"This is Richardson's finest, as beautiful and honest as it is fierce and heart-wrenching, THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK explores the fascinating and unique blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave Packhorse librarians. A timeless and significant tale about poverty, intolerance and how books can bring hope and light to even the darkest pocket of history." — Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Liar Temptress Soldier Spy
The Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky, circa 1940s. courtesy of the Kentucky Library and Archives
About the Author
Photo Credit: Leigh Photography
Kim Michele Richardson lives in Kentucky and resides part-time in Western North Carolina, and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, partnering with the U.S. Navy globally to bring awareness and education to the prevention of domestic violence. She is the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child, and a book critic for the New York Journal of Books. Her novels include, Liar’s Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and The Sisters of Glass Ferry. Kim Michele currently finished her fourth novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians. Coming Spring, 2019. Read More