Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (Review)

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
is a compelling read and one of the best books I've read this year.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Category: Adult Fiction,  320 pages
Genre: American Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark 
Release date: May 7, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (For scenes of violence and racism, some mild language)

Book Description:

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 Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

After reading The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, I knew I wanted to read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, partly because I was so fascinated by the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians and also because of some of the controversy stating that Moyes had plagiarized this book. Well after reading both books, I can say that apart from the stories being based on the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians, that's where the similarities end. These are two very different stories. I loved the Giver of Stars and I loved this one too! I was happy to read two stories based on the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians and I hope there will be more written on the lives of these self-sacrificing women.

What I found the most fascinating in this novel that is completely missing in Moyes' book is the fact that the main character, Cussy Mary Carter, is the last of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky. I had never heard of this phenomenon (an inherited condition called methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder in which too little oxygen is delivered to one's cellsand I found myself researching this online. Cussy Mary or Bluet as some called her, is proud to be a librarian, bringing books to folks who appreciate her hard efforts to get them to her patrons up in those hardscrabble mountains. Cussy feels the prejudice of the other librarians and her only friend in town is Queenie, a black librarian.

This is very much the coming-of-age story of a woman who comes to realize that the color of her skin is not what defines her. Through the story we come to see her resilience, her compassion and generosity, her humbleness, her kindness and goodness, and her desire for betterment through education. She is a character I admired so much and that I will never forget! There were scenes in this book that brought me to tears.

The only thing I found a little disappointing is the abrupt ending. It felt rushed with so much action packed into a few pages. After becoming so emotionally invested, I felt it could have been better drawn out. Apart from this, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a compelling read and one of the best books I've read this year.

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author, Kim Michele Richardson resides in her home state of Kentucky. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, building houses, 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 latest novel is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a NYT bestseller about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians of Kentucky.

You can visit her websites and learn more at:

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  1. I loved it too. I learned so much and will probably read Moyes' book at some point. This will be on my 2020 favorites list.

  2. i love to read controversial books, but this sounds like so much more and very interesting
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. It's a very good read. The book itself is not controversial, except that some felt Moyes copied this story when she wrote her book.

  3. I found the story of the blue skin fascinating and the author's follow up information on how they came to be and what causes the blueness super interesting.

  4. Loved the book but was so disappointed in the abrupt ending ... only thing I could figure is the author plans to do a sequel???


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