Sunday, May 29, 2022

"The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek" by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2019) was recommended by my husband Wayne. He's typically a scifi aficionado, but found this historical fiction novel compelling. Through extensive research, the author has effectively woven factual events into a well written tale.

They say to write about what you know. Kim Richardson grew up and lives in Kentucky, the book's setting. Her story portrays the people, places and history of the Depression era pack horse library project in Appalachia. It also brings the extreme poverty, illiteracy, and racial discrimination to life.

Cussy Mary Carter lives with her widowed father in Troublesome Creek, a hill-country coal mining town. They are descendants of French immigrants who carried the methemoglobinemia gene, causing blue skin tones. At the time, little was known about the condition. In tight knit communities, anyone different was subjected to discrimination and persecution. 

Due to her physical condition, Cussy Mary has to go behind the back of the local librarian and apply by mail to become a Pack Horse Librarian. Her mother was an avid reader and instilled in Cussy a love for books. Serving as a unique mobile librarian, she shared her love for reading and learning with individuals and families isolated by location, poverty and antiquated attitudes.

I highly recommend The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I learned about a part of the United States far from my homes in California and the Pacific Northwest. Living conditions were dire, women were subjected to harsh conditions and abuse, and young children often died from starvation. Yet, families endured and the pack horse library program brought a bright diversion and educational opportunity to people with few opportunities.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is available in print, e-book and auditory book options online and in bookstores.

More about Kim Richardson and Book Woman: 

Kim Richardson's website.

Kim Richardson's Facebook page.

A book trailer at Kim Richardson's website.

Controversy about another book published with similarities.

The story continues with The Book Woman's Daughter.

Visit the monthly Book Review Club for teen/young adult and adult fiction over at Barrie Summy's blog.

Also shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures.