The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government's new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people--a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman's chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Pack horse Librarians in literary novels — a story of fierce strength and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Details

TitleThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 7th, 2019
PublisherSourcebooks Landmark
ISBN-139781492671527
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Writing, Books About Books, Adult, Adult Fiction

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Review

  • Jaline
    January 1, 1970
    Update: Today, May 07, 2019 is Happy Publication Date!In the fierce, majestic mountains and hollers of Appalachian Kentucky in the 1930’s, there were many small towns and communities that were so isolated some people never saw a newspaper. Or, if they did, it was used to paper a layer to the insides of their tiny homes to help keep the weather out. Books, for the most part, were a luxury, and often only family Bibles or the odd family heirloom would be in the home.In the 1930’s people everywhere Update: Today, May 07, 2019 is Happy Publication Date!In the fierce, majestic mountains and hollers of Appalachian Kentucky in the 1930’s, there were many small towns and communities that were so isolated some people never saw a newspaper. Or, if they did, it was used to paper a layer to the insides of their tiny homes to help keep the weather out. Books, for the most part, were a luxury, and often only family Bibles or the odd family heirloom would be in the home.In the 1930’s people everywhere struggled for the basics of food and shelter during The Great Depression. As part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, he set up education programs in isolated areas whereby books donated by a variety of service clubs and larger libraries could be delivered to families via horse, mule, canoe, or sometimes just walking. The program initially hired single women with the idea of giving them gainful employment and so the Pack Horse Project came into being, and the brave and inspired women came to be known as “Book Women”.This beautifully written, warm, and touching novel is about one Book Woman who served her county in Kentucky near a small town center called Troublesome Creek for several years. It is a fictional novel, yet is based on well-researched historical facts.Cussy Mary Carter, sometimes called “Bluet”, and sometimes called “Book Woman” is, according to her father, the last of “her kind”. Aside from all else, she is one of the rare people in the world who have congenital methemoglobinemia. Cussy Mary had the characteristic blue skin which occurs due to less oxygen in the blood. Thus, her nickname, “Bluet”. She was named “Cussy” for the town in France where her maternal great-grandfather lived before leaving for the United States.Her story is inspiring. It is also heart-rending. Cussy Mary’s dedication to her “patrons” on her pack horse route brings her into contact with many events, some frightening, and some very touching. My heart went out to her many times during this book, and indeed, I felt such a strong bond with the people of this county in Kentucky and their children. So many of them were starved for knowledge and the sense of pride that comes from discovering that knowledge through reading. So many of them found hope in the stories of other people’s challenges and how they managed to overcome them.This novel is very strong, and it is beautifully written. The one weak spot for me was near the beginning when Cussy Mary and her father have heated discussions about her future over a period of time. I understood the logic of both Cussy Mary and her father but I felt that their discussions could have been briefer as the long-term consequences were redeemed many times in many ways in the rest of the novel.Aside from this minor weakness (from my perspective), this novel soared, and I am definitely interested in reading more of this writer’s work. I admit to both horror followed by tears of happiness and happy tears followed by horror over the time frame of this novel. The ending was excellent, except for one thing: by then I was so immersed in these people’s lives, I wanted to stay there and learn more of their stories.4.5 StarsWith gratitude to Sourcebook Landmark and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of this novel. Its publication date is May 07, 2019.
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  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    When I finished this book, I thought it was such a good story and I immediately gave it four stars, but then I thought about it more as I was writing this. I thought about what a meaningful story it is, what an amazing and strong character Cussy Mary Carter is, what a realistic depiction of time and place is presented here, about how much I learned from it, how touched I was, and the wonderful way that the author blends the story of the Blue People of Kentucky with the Pack Horse Library Project When I finished this book, I thought it was such a good story and I immediately gave it four stars, but then I thought about it more as I was writing this. I thought about what a meaningful story it is, what an amazing and strong character Cussy Mary Carter is, what a realistic depiction of time and place is presented here, about how much I learned from it, how touched I was, and the wonderful way that the author blends the story of the Blue People of Kentucky with the Pack Horse Library Project. I shorty went back and gave it the five stars it deserves. In the Appalachian hills of Kentucky in the 1930’s, the people are poverty stricken and hungry. The Pack Horse Librarian Project is established as part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration and we meet 19 year old Cussy Mary Carter, one of the Book Women, the librarians dedicated to bringing books and stories and knowledge to the people in the hills of Kentucky. She also is known as Bluet, as she is one of the Blue People of Kentucky. I found this story to be fascinating as I had never heard of the Blue People of Kentucky and I never knew about these trail blazing women, both literally and figuratively who delivered reading materials to their patrons in tough conditions.Cussy Mary’s story angered me. She’s the victim of prejudice and racism and an early disastrous arranged marriage that her father thought would provide care for her after he was gone, which he thought would not be far off, given the years he spent in the coal mines. It’s heartbreaking as she is subjected to medical tests and evaluation to protect her and her father and to get food for the starving children at the school and heartbreaking that she seeks a “cure” for her condition so she wouldn’t be shunned and discriminated against. Her story moved me as I saw the connections she makes with her patrons, especially the children in the schoolhouse, who are hungry for food as well as for stories. She brings them more than books. She brings kindness and food when she can. She brings them hope and in some cases life. This is a story with a fantastic depiction of time and place, and people. An example of historical fiction at its best reflecting the worst things in life such as the racism that existed then and sadly now as well and some of the best things, the kindness of people, the importance and value of the written word, the joy that Cussy Mary got out of seeing the joy she brought to them when she delivered a book. Highly recommended!I received an advanced copy of this book from Sourcebook Landmark through Edelweiss.
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  • *Swaroop*
    January 1, 1970
    "The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man."~ T.S Eliot "The printed word that brought a hopeful world into their dreary lives and dark hollers."A beautiful and fascinating read! This book is a must read for everyone, who understands the value of books and human life.Inspired by true events and real people, set in Kentucky and in the year 1936, Kim Michele Richardson's The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is the amazing story of nin "The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man."~ T.S Eliot "The printed word that brought a hopeful world into their dreary lives and dark hollers."A beautiful and fascinating read! This book is a must read for everyone, who understands the value of books and human life.Inspired by true events and real people, set in Kentucky and in the year 1936, Kim Michele Richardson's The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is the amazing story of nineteen-year-old Cussy "Bluet" Mary Carter. Cussy Mary is thought to be the last female of the blue mountainfolk. Her love for books and as one who truly believes that reading books leads to a better community and world, Cussy Mary joins the Kentucky Pack Horse Library program. These librarians used to travel by horse, mule, and sometimes by foot and boats to reach the remotest areas and homes in all types of weather conditions.This wonderful book is a true tribute to not just the brave, fearless and selfless Pack Horse Project Librarians, but to all the dedicated Librarians across the world and also to all those who understands the importance and enriching experience of reading books.Kim Michele describes vividly the life and times of the racially discriminated, shunned and shamed blue-skinned people of Kentucky. This book provides an understanding of the hardships and injustice faced by the local people working in the coal mines.There's also a lovely love story in this book. :-)Thank you Kim Michele, for this opportunity to write this review.A sincere and gratitude filled "Thank you!" to all the Librarians worldwide and to all the wonderful people involved in the Public Library System."You and those books are a shining light for our people. For me."
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    From the beginning I adored Cussy or Bluet as she is called by some. A pack librarian in the Kentucky Appalachians, she delivers books to folks living in the hollers. As part of FDRs work program, she rides her mule and delivers her books. This is depression era, 1930' and people are struggling, making them look forward to the books, newspapers or magazines she brings. Some cannot read, so she reads to them, some are just learning to read, and some just look st the picture She is in all ways won From the beginning I adored Cussy or Bluet as she is called by some. A pack librarian in the Kentucky Appalachians, she delivers books to folks living in the hollers. As part of FDRs work program, she rides her mule and delivers her books. This is depression era, 1930' and people are struggling, making them look forward to the books, newspapers or magazines she brings. Some cannot read, so she reads to them, some are just learning to read, and some just look st the picture She is in all ways wonderful. She and her father consider themselves to be the last of the blue people of Kentucky, a genetic trait passed on, but they don't know this yet. Their father and daughter relationship is a close one, and a joy to behold.They are considered colored, treated just as badly by some as the blacks. Bigotry and discrimination is something she faces daily. The author does a fantastic job showing us the past in this region, using regional dialect snd wonderful descriptions of the fauna, the hills, and the local characters. She will go through many obstacles of personal matters, but her faith and love of the written word is a message she joyfully spreads.The book starts off rather slowly, and there are parts that are more sentimental then I usually like. Yet, her story, her character and the actual history related in this book, made those few qualms, inconsequential. The authors note explains the genetics involved in their coloring, as well as an explanation of the historical references. This is a book that shows, not tells and one feels as if they are traveling with Cussy on her personal and professional travels. A very heartfelt story.ARC from Netgalley.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this story so much!The Pack Horse Library Project was established in 1935 by President Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration... an effort to bring jobs to women and bring books and reading material to the poor and isolated areas of Appalachia, where there were few schools and inaccessible roads.Cussy Mary was one of these women who had a route.. she was 19 yrs old, a coal miner’s daughter, who’s father was trying to marry her off, because he had the bad lung from mining, and wanted I enjoyed this story so much!The Pack Horse Library Project was established in 1935 by President Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration... an effort to bring jobs to women and bring books and reading material to the poor and isolated areas of Appalachia, where there were few schools and inaccessible roads.Cussy Mary was one of these women who had a route.. she was 19 yrs old, a coal miner’s daughter, who’s father was trying to marry her off, because he had the bad lung from mining, and wanted her to have someone to care for her.Cussy didn’t want that because she loved being The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky... and she earned her own wages from doing that. She was also so good hearted and tried to help the people on her route.Also, she and her Pa were “blue” people. Lots of people nicknamed her Bluet, for that reason.I’d never heard about these Blue People of Kentucky...they were considered “colored” people and were treated horribly just like the blacks. I learned new things in history from this beautiful book, and myself, being the granddaughter of a West Virginia coal miner.. extra interesting!Thank you to Netgalley and to Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC!
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Cussy Mary Carter was arguably the last "blue skinned person" in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. The year, 1936. Living in a backwoods, one-room log house, life was a struggle for the nineteen year old and her pa, a coal miner. Pa lit a "courting candle", intent upon making sure Cussy "will knot". Suitors would come and go wanting "a surety" that their progeny would not be blue. Cussy, nicknamed "Bluet", was subjected to taunts, prejudice and continuous ridicule due to her cobalt-blue skin color. H Cussy Mary Carter was arguably the last "blue skinned person" in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. The year, 1936. Living in a backwoods, one-room log house, life was a struggle for the nineteen year old and her pa, a coal miner. Pa lit a "courting candle", intent upon making sure Cussy "will knot". Suitors would come and go wanting "a surety" that their progeny would not be blue. Cussy, nicknamed "Bluet", was subjected to taunts, prejudice and continuous ridicule due to her cobalt-blue skin color. Her rare condition called methemoglobinemia caused decreased oxygenation in the blood producing blue skin. She was socially isolated, treated like an outcast.President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal included educational programs with the aim of bringing books to a poverty stricken populace living in hollers and backwoods. The Pack Horse Library was born. Single women could apply to deliver books, newspapers and magazines by horse, mule, boat and on foot. Cussy Mary aka Bluet knew that it was unlikely she would find a suitor. "I didn't have myself an escape until I'd gotten the precious book route". Bluet rode through dangerous passes, dark hollers, and forded creeks "toting a pannier full of books" carried by her trusty old mule, Junia."Book Woman" another moniker for Cussy Mary, delivered hope to children and adults starving for learning. Children were "...as hungry for the stories in those books as they were for the food that always seemed sparse in this real land". Book Woman was unaware of the positive impact she had on library patrons on her book route. Her acts of kindness were in direct contrast to the reception she received at her once monthly visit to library headquarters. She arrived in town wearing a big brimmed bonnet to escape the stares and pointed fingers of the townsfolk."The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek" by Kim Michele Richardson is a magnificent, well written work of historical fiction. As a child, I remember my delight when the "Book Bus" visited my school. We could examine the shelved books and choose two books from the lending library. Dial back to the 1930's. Pack Horse Librarians like Cussy Mary were true pioneers addressing illiteracy. "Folks here are hungry...folks tell me the books ease their burdens...". Kudos to Kim Michele Richardson for a 5* star read I highly recommend.Thank you SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek".
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  • Dem
    January 1, 1970
    A compelling and story about adaptability, and courage, told With compassion and delicacy Kim Michele Richardson presents a little known chapter of American history that is inspired by the true blue skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse Library service of the 1930s. Historical Fiction Novels uses emotion to make facts matter and I find these types of novels so important in giving us a glimpse into events and happenings of the past that we might never read ab A compelling and story about adaptability, and courage, told With compassion and delicacy Kim Michele Richardson presents a little known chapter of American history that is inspired by the true blue skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse Library service of the 1930s. Historical Fiction Novels uses emotion to make facts matter and I find these types of novels so important in giving us a glimpse into events and happenings of the past that we might never read about if it was not for historical fiction and any book that educates its readers is a book of Value in my opinion. 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.I enjoyed this novel, its emotional and heartbreaking but a book that was entertaining and I enjoyed reading about the lives of the Kentucky mountain people and the coal miners. I did find it a little too sentimental in places but I can live with this if the story is well told and the fact that I am learning something new pushes this one from a 3.5 Star rating to a 4 Star.I think readers who enjoyed Orphan Train may well enjoy this one too. I listened to this one on audible and really enjoyed the experience.
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  • Book of Secrets
    January 1, 1970
    Cussy Mary was such a compelling and unique character in this novel set in depression-era Kentucky. I warmed to her and her amazing story right away. ♥Part of President Roosevelt's plan to bring jobs to struggling rural areas was the Pack Horse Library Project. Working for this program, Cussy and her mule delivered second-hand books to the poorest of mountain folks surrounding Troublesome Creek.Cussy was called Bluet by many locals because of the uncommon color of her skin. She was a descendant Cussy Mary was such a compelling and unique character in this novel set in depression-era Kentucky. I warmed to her and her amazing story right away. ♥Part of President Roosevelt's plan to bring jobs to struggling rural areas was the Pack Horse Library Project. Working for this program, Cussy and her mule delivered second-hand books to the poorest of mountain folks surrounding Troublesome Creek.Cussy was called Bluet by many locals because of the uncommon color of her skin. She was a descendant of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky, and she faced cruelty and discrimination because of it. This book brilliantly brought to life what was going on in this time and place, all the hardships and hopes of this impoverished mining community. THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK was a wonderful & emotional journey, and I loved it! Cussy the Book Woman is a character who will stay with you long after finishing this absorbing piece of Southern historical fiction. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    I love novels where the story telling is based on true historical facts, especially when they are something I'd never heard of before. In this novel, the author weaves together two interesting, well researched historical episodes from 1930s Kentucky to tell a fascinating and memorable story.Nineteen year old Cussy Mary Carter and her widowed coal miner father live in a small shack near Troublesome Creek, where they barely scrape by on his meagre wages and her small salary as a librarian for the I love novels where the story telling is based on true historical facts, especially when they are something I'd never heard of before. In this novel, the author weaves together two interesting, well researched historical episodes from 1930s Kentucky to tell a fascinating and memorable story.Nineteen year old Cussy Mary Carter and her widowed coal miner father live in a small shack near Troublesome Creek, where they barely scrape by on his meagre wages and her small salary as a librarian for the Pack Horse Library Project. Cussy and her father are both members of the Blue people, an inbred family with a mutation that makes their skin appear blue, causing them to be reviled by the whites in town and banned from white-only rest rooms, restaurants and events. Because of this Cussy loves the solitary nature of her job bringing library books by horseback through the mountains of the Appalachians to impoverished backwoods families (her 'patrons'), who are mostly too excited to see new books arriving to worry much about the colour of her skin. While Cussy is happy to stay single for the rest of her life if she can only keep being a librarian, her father wants only to see her married, before he dies of the miner's lung disease that is slowly killing him, and that's when all the trouble starts.This is a heartwarming and, at times, heart wrenching tale of racism and injustice and the power of books and a fierce, courageous woman determined to open up the world for others through education and knowledge. There are some wonderful characters amongst Cussy's patrons - quiet, shy teenager Angeline expecting her first child, R.C. the firewatcher who wants to study to become a forest ranger as well as Cussy's friend and handsome Jackson Lovett as well as Cussy's friend, Negro pack horse librarian Queenie who eventually escapes the small town bigots to become a librarian in Philadelphia and Doc who desparately wants to get his hands on Cussy to study her blood and skin. Highly recommended for those who enjoy good storytelling with a historical background.With thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a digital ARC to read
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    This book broke my heart, twisted it, stomped on it, and then uplifted it. I cried and raged as I read it. It is an emotional hotbed kind of read dealing with extreme poverty and hardship, discrimination, and perseverance. Cussy Mary Carter is a "Blue" (the last female of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky) who lives with her father (a "Blue" coal miner) and who works for Roosevelt's WPA Pack Horse Library Project. She delivers books to isolated mountain people. These people are so poor some ar This book broke my heart, twisted it, stomped on it, and then uplifted it. I cried and raged as I read it. It is an emotional hotbed kind of read dealing with extreme poverty and hardship, discrimination, and perseverance. Cussy Mary Carter is a "Blue" (the last female of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky) who lives with her father (a "Blue" coal miner) and who works for Roosevelt's WPA Pack Horse Library Project. She delivers books to isolated mountain people. These people are so poor some are dying of starvation but they are also starving for books and news. Cussy is devoted to the people on her route and tries to bring each one something special to read. She is also devoted to spreading literacy. Her perseverance through hardship proved her a strong and courageous girl.One of my very best reads so far this year. My thanks to Kim Michele Richardson and Sourcebooks Landmark through Netgalley for an advance copy.
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  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a gem of a book and a tribute to the importance of books. Richardson tackles numerous topics from Kentucky in the 1930s - horrific coal mining conditions, the true blue-skinned people that lived in Appalachia, and the Pack Horse library service. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a tale of family, prejudice, and perseverance, and one woman’s decision to find her own way despite her hardscrabble existence. One of my favorite parts of the book was Richard The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a gem of a book and a tribute to the importance of books. Richardson tackles numerous topics from Kentucky in the 1930s - horrific coal mining conditions, the true blue-skinned people that lived in Appalachia, and the Pack Horse library service. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a tale of family, prejudice, and perseverance, and one woman’s decision to find her own way despite her hardscrabble existence. One of my favorite parts of the book was Richardson’s inclusion of various Appalachian superstitions and beliefs; I found those interesting and at times fascinating. I highly recommend this book. It is a page turner; make sure you have tissues nearby before you start it.
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    5 fantastic blue stars to “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”Every once in a while, a book turns out to be an amazing surprise, not much hype yet, but something about it draws you in. This is the case with this book. I found it very intriguing to read about women (mostly) who would take books to isolated folks in Kentucky and other rural spots via horseback. Imagine my surprise when the main character is described as having blue skin – I had to rethink the genre of this book, was this science 5 fantastic blue stars to “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”Every once in a while, a book turns out to be an amazing surprise, not much hype yet, but something about it draws you in. This is the case with this book. I found it very intriguing to read about women (mostly) who would take books to isolated folks in Kentucky and other rural spots via horseback. Imagine my surprise when the main character is described as having blue skin – I had to rethink the genre of this book, was this science fiction? No, it turns out that there were some people in Kentucky with this very condition. The first surprise of this book!I loved Cussy Blue, the amazing Appalachian woman in this story. Extremely poor, she still gave away food and medicine to others rather than keep it for herself. So giving of her time to read to folks and select books and magazine that they would want to read. Braving treacherous paths to get to her patrons as a Pack Horse Librarian. The discrimination she faced was difficult to read at times, but somehow, she overcomes all of that to be a generous person and beloved to many in the community. She is faced with an option to “cure” her condition and there are some very interesting interactions with this – does her appearance change who she really is at heart? Will others see her differently?This book demanded my attention and I highly recommend it to everyone! This was my first read by this author, but it won’t be my last! She has such an authentic writing style, I felt I was there with Cussy and the townspeople. Many of the townspeople hang on to old superstition and dangerous religious beliefs.Thanks to SourceBooks Landmark, Netgalley, and the author Kim Michelle Richardson for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Diane Barnes
    January 1, 1970
    I know I'm rowing against the tide in my review of this book, but my 3 stars is for the things I liked, and I'm not subtracting for the things I didn't. It was a great story with likable characters (for the most part), and I enjoyed the research and information on both the blue people of Kentucky and the Book Women who brought books and magazines to the impoverished families in the hills.Suffice it to say that the writing was uneven, the dialect was not consistent, and the ending was a little to I know I'm rowing against the tide in my review of this book, but my 3 stars is for the things I liked, and I'm not subtracting for the things I didn't. It was a great story with likable characters (for the most part), and I enjoyed the research and information on both the blue people of Kentucky and the Book Women who brought books and magazines to the impoverished families in the hills.Suffice it to say that the writing was uneven, the dialect was not consistent, and the ending was a little too melodramatic for my tastes. I know lots of readers really loved this one, and I understand why, but I just couldn't get there in my rating. Not a bad book, not a great book, but I enjoyed the story.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    An enlightening and fascinating historical fiction novel that was impossible to put down and will be a hard book to forget. SUMMARYTHE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK is about the WPA Pack Horse Library Project of 1935 and the factual Blue People of eastern Kentucky.  It’s a tribute to the librarians who traveled on horseback and mule to provide books to the poor and isolated communities in Kentucky. Cussy Mary Carter is the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. She becomes a libr An enlightening and fascinating historical fiction novel that was impossible to put down and will be a hard book to forget. SUMMARYTHE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK is about the WPA Pack Horse Library Project of 1935 and the factual Blue People of eastern Kentucky.  It’s a tribute to the librarians who traveled on horseback and mule to provide books to the poor and isolated communities in Kentucky. Cussy Mary Carter is the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. She becomes a librarian at nineteen, riding across creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule, Junia, to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her blue skin and the government's new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing. “Our Bluet is a librarian for the Pack Horse project. A smart book woman for our little town.” His voice was proud like, like a papa bragging on his child.”REVIEWThis is a unique, fascinating and enlightening story about the Kentucky Blue People and Pack Horse Librarians. I was not familiar with either of these topics when I selected the book, but a book about books is bound to be good. But it wasn’t just good it was great. This is one of those moments that a book totally took me by surprise. It’s a tale of one woman’s fierce strength and her belief that books can help ease burdens, escape misery, and grow minds. Cussy’s character was so well-developed you can’t help but feel her shame, her anger, her compassion and her strength. My favorite part was Cussy’s tremendous dedication to help her book patrons in any way she could. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was impossible to put down and will be a hard book to forget. Kim Michele Richardson writing is touching and she provides an authentic Appalachian voice.  She was born in Kentucky and resides part-time in Western North Carolina. She 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. Her works includes Liar's Bench (2015), GodPretty in the Tobacco Field (2016) and The Sisters of Glass Ferry (2017). The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is her fourth novel. Thanks to Netgalley, Kim Michelle Richardson and SourceBooks Landmark for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ““Listen Bluet, we may be able to cure you, make you white. Wouldn’t you like that? “He asked gently and pulled the motor car onto the side of the road. Maybe there weren’t anything a Blue should like better than becoming normal like that, but the pain and the fear left me shaken and crowded out those possibilities.”Publisher Sourcebooks LandmarkPublished May 7, 2019Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
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  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow. In spite of the slow pace this is a stellar story :)
  • ABCme
    January 1, 1970
    Booklovers unite! because this might be the most impressive piece of historical fiction you will read this year!Wow, do I sound blown away? Yes my tribe, I am!1936. Meet Cussy Mary, a tough cookie struggling to survive the harsh life deep in the Kentucky mountains.She's a Pack Horse Librarian, carrying books and other forms of print to the poorest and most isolated families of Troublesome Creek. She's also one of the last Blue People of Kentucky. Yes; blue, as in blue-skinned. It's called methem Booklovers unite! because this might be the most impressive piece of historical fiction you will read this year!Wow, do I sound blown away? Yes my tribe, I am!1936. Meet Cussy Mary, a tough cookie struggling to survive the harsh life deep in the Kentucky mountains.She's a Pack Horse Librarian, carrying books and other forms of print to the poorest and most isolated families of Troublesome Creek. She's also one of the last Blue People of Kentucky. Yes; blue, as in blue-skinned. It's called methemoglobinemia, an enzym deficiency in the blood that causes the blue sheen. Imagine how people look at her and judge her. It's a tough life, filled with sorrow and hunger.Being a Pack Horse Librarian is her livelyhood. Riding her donkey up those mountains, bringing the joy of reading to isolated families, this book is heartbreakingly beautiful.Cussy is a caring soul, and throughout the story we watch people change their opinion of this woman they call Bluet. I love how she knows just which books to bring to certain people, educate them, show them some love. Sharing her homemade scrapbooks filled with news clippings, poems, recipes, sewing patterns and cleaning tips with the mountain folk.This story impressed me deeply. The struggle to fit in, meanwhile trying to accept the self, the hunger for knowledge, so familiar, the Pack Horse Librarian Project, part of Roosevelt's New Deal, and of course learning more about methemoglobinemia. All based on real people and real history. The journey is tiresome, the hunger gruesome, still this book moves with dignity, respecting human and animal alike. The ending is comfortable and put a smile on my face. Highly highly recommended.Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5* stars. This was a powerful,beautifully written book which enthralled me and transported me to an unfamiliar place and time. Life was hard in the Appalachia’s isolated. homes in the regions’ hills and valleys. During the Economic depression and later, the laws in Kentucky upheld racial segregation and marriage or cohabitation between people of different races was forbidden. Poverty was prevalent. Hunger, sickness, and starvation were widespread. Many who were ill or with life threatening i *4.5* stars. This was a powerful,beautifully written book which enthralled me and transported me to an unfamiliar place and time. Life was hard in the Appalachia’s isolated. homes in the regions’ hills and valleys. During the Economic depression and later, the laws in Kentucky upheld racial segregation and marriage or cohabitation between people of different races was forbidden. Poverty was prevalent. Hunger, sickness, and starvation were widespread. Many who were ill or with life threatening injuries could not afford medical care, often resorting to folk remedies. Many held superstitious beliefs. Coal miners were exploited, overworked long hours under dangerous conditions and were indebted to the company store. In the early 1800s a man from France settled in the Appalachian hills near Troublesome Creek. He married, and they were unaware they both carried a recessive gene which caused a rare blood disorder. This genetic condition resulted in brown blood and blue skin and nails. In such an isolated area, marriage among relatives occurred and children were born with this genetic defect. This resulted in what is known as the Blue People of Kentucky. Segregation laws which applied to Blacks also discriminated against people with Blue Skin and they were categorized as Coloured. Life was a struggle for poor white people, but even more difficult for those classified as Coloured. In 1935 the Government established the Pack Horse Librarians which employed mostly single women. Donated books, old magazines, farm journals were carried by Book Women to remote homes. They also repaired donated books and made scrapbooks containing recipes, dress patterns, articles on hunting, fishing, farming, hygiene, and comic strips. The trails the women travelled on their book rounds were long and formidable. The Book Women rode horses, mules, travelled by boat or on foot for many miles through rugged landscapes to bring books to the downtrodden, sick and discouraged people as well as a few tiny schools and isolated shacks. Most people were delighted to receive a visit and books brought by Book Women, and valued the stories and yearned to become literate. Cussy, also called Bluet, was one of the Book Women who rode a mule through hills and valleys, along treacherous mountain ridges, and through streams. Sometimes she was shunned due to her blue skin, and women at her work place treated her with prejudice and scorn. Some thought her colour was a sign of evil spirits or avoided touching her fearing that her condition might be contagious. However, Cussy was proud of her work with the Pack Horse Librarians, and some of her clients were excited to receive a loan of a book or magazine, and welcomed her as a friend. She was earning $28 a month with which she supported herself and her father, an overworked coal miner. The book establishes a vivid sense of place and characters. The dialogue seemed authentic for the time and place. The peoples’ meager diets, struggles, living conditions were well described. Courting customs, superstitions, and folk remedies were fascinating. Recommended!
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  • ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ
    January 1, 1970
    As I began reading I was amazed at the intimate knowledge of language, euphemisms, and slang of the Appalachian culture. The characters were amazingly developed. I cried for Cussy, I loved her father's devotion towards her and even the antagonists were given good backstories to help you understand them, even if you hated them. It's a gripping story that pulled me in and I was unable to put this book down. With each chapter we learn more about the Appalachian way of life. I felt immersed in the s As I began reading I was amazed at the intimate knowledge of language, euphemisms, and slang of the Appalachian culture. The characters were amazingly developed. I cried for Cussy, I loved her father's devotion towards her and even the antagonists were given good backstories to help you understand them, even if you hated them. It's a gripping story that pulled me in and I was unable to put this book down. With each chapter we learn more about the Appalachian way of life. I felt immersed in the story and there were small surprises at every turn of the page.I really devoured this book and had it on my mind when I wasn't reading - a sure sign of a terrific novel. It is well written with a tremendous sense of time and place. I felt like I was right there in Kentucky with Cussy, trying to forge a life. I am often put off by the use of regional dialect but in this case, it was used moderately and not enough to distract from enjoyment of the story.There’s so much that I could say about this incredible book. That it’s beautifully written. A valuable contribution to contemporary Southern literature, particularly in its portrayal of womanhood. A meditation on what it means to be human. So I think I’ll just close by saying that The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek reminded me to be kinder and more empathetic, and that my judgement of a person, for good or for bad, will forever fail at seeing and acknowledging the entirety of a person. We all have whole worlds inside of us, no matter the colour of our skin. I loved this book.Thank you NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark and Kim Michele Richardson for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own.#NetgalleyAll my reviews can be found on my blog: https://shelleyann01.blogspot.com
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  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    "This old land." Jackson stared off. "It sure makes a man yearn for it and want to flee it altogether." *Cussy Mary Carter hasn't had an easy life.  She's isolated deep in a Kentucky holler, her mama's dead and her father is dying thanks to the conditions in the coal mines.  Not to mention the fact that she's blue.  No one understands why, but her folks and her all have an unknown condition thats been passed down through kin that leaves their skin tinged blue.  The local doc has been hounding Cu "This old land." Jackson stared off. "It sure makes a man yearn for it and want to flee it altogether." *Cussy Mary Carter hasn't had an easy life.  She's isolated deep in a Kentucky holler, her mama's dead and her father is dying thanks to the conditions in the coal mines.  Not to mention the fact that she's blue.  No one understands why, but her folks and her all have an unknown condition thats been passed down through kin that leaves their skin tinged blue.  The local doc has been hounding Cussy and her daddy for ages to let him run some blood work and figure out their condition.Their blue skin leaves them outcast in Troublesome Creek.  Folks are afraid of them, religious people seem to think they're an abomination.  Cussy is perfectly content to live at home with her father and bring in extra money as a pack horse librarian, thanks to Roosevelt's WPA program.  She loves reading and it brings her joy to travel the hills and bring books to folks so isolated they'd never have an opportunity to look at a book otherwise.  Unfortunately for her, Cussy's father made a promise to her mama that he'd make sure Cussy married and had a stable life.Readers follow Cussy on her route and get to know her patrons who begin to welcome visits from "Book Woman".  Still, Cussy is careful never to offend or touch her patrons, many who remain fearful of her blue skin."Well, them cloths are a lot like folks. Ain't much difference at all. Some of us is more spiffed up than others, some stiffer, and still, some softer. There's the colorful and dull, ugly and pretty, old, new 'uns. But in the end we's all fabric, cut from His cloth. Fabric, and just that." *Cussy's married off to a cruel local man but karma swiftly knocks him down ...dead.  She's only too happy to return to her home but before long her dead husband's kin,  the local preacher, begins following Cussy on her work route, accusing her of being evil because she's different.  When the preacher turns up dead on Carter land, the doctor knows a second dead Frazier man involved with the Carters will look suspicious.  He uses the preacher's death to take advantage of the situation and Cussy agrees to the testing the doctor wants to perform if he'll keep Frazier's death a secret.The doctor's testing leads to a diagnosis: methemoglobinemia, a genetic defect in an enzyme with reduced oxygenation of tissue, hence the blue skin tone.Cussy wants nothing more than to belong.  When the doc offers a pill that will temporarily turn her skin lily white, she jumps on the chance to fit in with the folks in Troublesome.  "Those that can't see past a folk's skin color have a hard different in them. There's a fire in that difference. And when they see you, they'll still see a Blue. No city drug's gonna change small minds, what they think about peculiarity. For them like-minded folks, there is no redemption for our kind." *Pride is a powerful thing, even in a small town where folks are dying daily from starvation and refuse a hand out.  Some may see Cussy as an equal but most remain prejudice against what they can't understand.Cussy takes her job seriously and feels it is an honor to teach folks how to read and offer them books either as an escape or a way to learn.  Her patrons appreciate her and she becomes a part of their lives in a small but powerful way.Then comes the day that Cussy arrives at a patron's home and discovers a man hanging from a tree, a baby wailing at his feet.  What follows is a captivating tale of perseverance, love, and hope.The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was heartbreaking and captivating!  I loved how Richardson managed to take two groups from Kentucky history, Pack Horse Librarians and the Blue Fugates ("The Blue People of Kentucky"), and create a fictional tale that shares the grim truth of life for many in Appalachia during the 1930's:  prejudice, isolation, starvation, pride, coal mines, and the intimidating company stores that kept families in danger and in debt.If you appreciate Appalachian history, historical fiction, and unusual stories, this is a read I recommend!Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is scheduled for release on May 7, 2019.*Quotes included are from a digital advance readers copy and are subject to change upon final publication.For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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  • Melissa Dee
    January 1, 1970
    This touching and heart-breaking novel of Appalachia during the Roosevelt administration was a one-sitting, “don’t bother me I’m reading” experience. The protagonist, Cussy Mary Carter, is a Pack Horse Librarian, bringing literature to the people who live in the “hollers” of Kentucky, far from towns, doctors, and any other communal support. Although they are starved for food, the librarians bring them food for their minds.Cussy is a “blue”, suffering from congenital methemoglobinemia, “colored” This touching and heart-breaking novel of Appalachia during the Roosevelt administration was a one-sitting, “don’t bother me I’m reading” experience. The protagonist, Cussy Mary Carter, is a Pack Horse Librarian, bringing literature to the people who live in the “hollers” of Kentucky, far from towns, doctors, and any other communal support. Although they are starved for food, the librarians bring them food for their minds.Cussy is a “blue”, suffering from congenital methemoglobinemia, “colored” and therefore anathema to the white community. Despite their hatred and intolerance, Cussy and her father make a home and a life in their community.This is a fascinating book. I highly recommend it.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Susan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written book about the importance of reading for the soul. In a starving Appalachian population of coal miners and people who just scrabble to get by, the bright spot of the day is a visit by the Book Woman working in a WPA project started by President Roosevelt. Starving and living in abject poverty, the people living in the hills and hollers look forward to the visits of the Women who clamor through obstacles to bring tattered second hand books, magazines and old newspapers. In A beautifully written book about the importance of reading for the soul. In a starving Appalachian population of coal miners and people who just scrabble to get by, the bright spot of the day is a visit by the Book Woman working in a WPA project started by President Roosevelt. Starving and living in abject poverty, the people living in the hills and hollers look forward to the visits of the Women who clamor through obstacles to bring tattered second hand books, magazines and old newspapers. In this part of Kentucky, Cussy Mary, is blue. She has a rare disease that causes her skin to be blue. It is an enzyme deficiency that is caused by a recessive gene and Cussy Mary is the last blue person in Kentucky. This is a real fact and I had never heard of it before. She is called Bluet by her community and treated as a Colored by her local community. As this is set in 1936, that means poorly. She is not allowed to use public restrooms or go to public events. She attracts the attention of the local Doc who wants to study her and "Cure" her. She is not sure she wants to be cured but undergoes humiliating tests and experiments with drugs who leave her weak and shaken. She is not really treated as human but as a guinea pig. Still she does her book route and brings joy to so many people who live life in unimaginable poverty. Children literally starve in front of her. A school hangs on by fingernails. Individuals struggle to get out of the horrible situations they are in. Frankly, it's depressing beyond words. You can tell this author has familiarity with the area. The language and customs are authentic. The struggle of the coal miners is brought to light as Cussy Mary's father is one. The hold the companies kept on their employees through the company stores is discussed. Most of all the unremitting poverty and lack of education is addressed. Yet through it all, the arrival of a book or a magazine brings so much joy and hope. It makes your heart sing. This is a well written, thought provoking read that brings up so many issues. Racism, poverty, greediness of company owners, lack of education, struggling to be yourself, lack of hope and the light of books makes a powerful story. I highly recommend it. Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this wonderful book in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Karen Kay
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s. Cussy's not only a book woman, her belief is that books can carry us anywhere.Good story. Beautifully written. Must read.4.5☆
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  • Judy Collins
    January 1, 1970
    Check out my Q&A with the Author to learn more about this incredible book! 5 Stars +++Top Books of 2019! 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 an Check out my Q&A with the Author to learn more about this incredible book! 5 Stars +++Top Books of 2019! 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. Blog Review: JDCMustReadBooks Read My Reviews: The Sisters of Glass Ferry GodPretty In the Tobacco Field The Liar's Bench
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  • Athena Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, is such an amazing and beautiful 5* read, and any lover of the written word should consider pre ordering it.This is the part of the description blurb: "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 courag Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, is such an amazing and beautiful 5* read, and any lover of the written word should consider pre ordering it.This is the part of the description blurb: "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."Cussy Mary is an angel at heart. Her acts of goodness, faith, and friendship were unbelievable and may OR may not have made me tear up once or twice where the children were involved. There is a thoughtful commentary about race and persecution, poverty, and the power of learning in the novel, and I particularly enjoy books that make me think. I also didn't realise at first that the family had a real genetic disorder that made them blue - the author's note at the back is helpful. I would read it first!I don't even have a criticism to make. My worst thought is: Would Cussy Mary have any idea what a pineapple tasted like? I really enjoy the writing style and descriptions as well, the book flowed so smoothly and kept me interested even though I was reading slowly,I am so picky with 5 star reviews but did not hesitate here. I would recommend this for almost any reader! The book releases in May and I hope you guys will check it out!!
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  • The Cats Mother
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful novel about how books can bring joy to people the bleakest corners of the world. Skilfully blending two fascinating true stories into a highly emotional work of fiction, we learn about the brave women of Roosevelt’s Pack Horse Library system, and the unfortunate Blue People of Kentucky, through the voice of a unique heroine.It’s 1936 and the hill people of rural Kentucky are suffering the deprivations of the Depression, where children die of starvation or pellagra (a deficien This is a wonderful novel about how books can bring joy to people the bleakest corners of the world. Skilfully blending two fascinating true stories into a highly emotional work of fiction, we learn about the brave women of Roosevelt’s Pack Horse Library system, and the unfortunate Blue People of Kentucky, through the voice of a unique heroine.It’s 1936 and the hill people of rural Kentucky are suffering the deprivations of the Depression, where children die of starvation or pellagra (a deficiency of B vitamins), miners are slowly poisoned for the profit of The Company, a man is left to die because he tried to steal a chicken, and people of colour, black, brown or blue, are shunned by their neighbours. Blue skinned Cussy Mary Carter lives with her widowed father, who is determined to see her married for her own protection, in spite of her pleas. When her brutal old new husband dies from the strain of beating and raping her, she is relieved to be able to go back to the job she loves, being a Book Woman - delivering donated books to far flung homesteads on her trusty mule. Her patrons don’t care about her skin colour, as they are just grateful for the companionship and relief she brings, but some of the town dwellers hate her for being different and will do what they can to bring her down.Cussy - who patiently tolerates her nickname Bluet - is an amazing character - warm hearted and compassionate, fearless and honourable. We feel her despair and anger at the cruel poverty she witnesses daily, experience her humiliation at being treated as a science experiment by doctors who want to study her, and fret alongside her about the evil pastor who wants to rape the blue out of her. Luckily she has staunch friends - fellow Book Woman Queenie, teenage bride Angeline, the friendly new patron Jackson, and fierce protector Junia.I had never heard of the Blue People but when the cause is revealed to be Congenital Methaemoglobinaemia, an autosomal recessive condition that reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, it all made sense. Google images reveal photos of real people with the disease, which is fortunately rare: you have to inherit the defective gene from both parents - one of the many reasons for not marrying your cousin. When the town doctor provides Cussy with a treatment, it seems her problems are solved, but life is rarely that simple.The writing style took a little getting used to, but once I tuned in to Cussy’s story-telling voice, I loved this. Parts are desperately sad, there are characters you want to pummel, and some you want to cuddle. The pace is a little slow at first but it’s still highly readable. 4.5 rounded up for the originality of the subject matter. My thanks to NetGalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is available now.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is an extraordinary book. The story takes place in the hills of Kentucky during the depth of the Depression, and I was right away drawn into that place and time of poverty, bigotry and desperation. Cussy Mary is the Book Woman, who travels on her mule Junia to the far reaches of the community to bring books to people whose thirst for knowledge rivals the hunger pains in their bellies. But Cussy Mary is ridiculed, feared, and mistreated due to the blue tone of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is an extraordinary book. The story takes place in the hills of Kentucky during the depth of the Depression, and I was right away drawn into that place and time of poverty, bigotry and desperation. Cussy Mary is the Book Woman, who travels on her mule Junia to the far reaches of the community to bring books to people whose thirst for knowledge rivals the hunger pains in their bellies. But Cussy Mary is ridiculed, feared, and mistreated due to the blue tone of her skin. Cussy’s story is heartbreaking, but her spirit, her love of books, and her devotion to her patrons is inspirational. There were so many incredible characters in this book—Henry, Angeline, Jackson, and the others who wait every week to see what Cussy will bring them in her bag; Junia, her mule, who is a true character in this book. This riveting book filled me with a myriad of emotions and will be a book that lives forever in my heart.
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  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 10%This is entirely because I'm not a fan of the writing style. I really wanted to read a historical fiction book about the Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky (view spoiler)[shameless self plug: I wrote a fantasy novella inspired by the same group, which is coincidentally titled The Book Woman, so consider me incredibly intrigued with this book of a similar title (hide spoiler)], and was really intrigued by the main character being one of the blues of the area—people who had a recessive ge DNF at 10%This is entirely because I'm not a fan of the writing style. I really wanted to read a historical fiction book about the Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky (view spoiler)[shameless self plug: I wrote a fantasy novella inspired by the same group, which is coincidentally titled The Book Woman, so consider me incredibly intrigued with this book of a similar title (hide spoiler)], and was really intrigued by the main character being one of the blues of the area—people who had a recessive genetic mutation called met-H or methemoglobinemia—who faced discrimination, fear and disgust due to her unique coloring. But again, not a fan of the writing style.Too much tell, not enough show, with info dumping by dialogue while pa messes with a courting candle for two chapters. Plus a scene of marital rape right in the beginning. For more information on the horse-riding librarians who delivered books and other reading materials to the poverty-stricken mountains of Kentucky during the Great Depression (and were mostly women):Pack Horse LibrariansOne of the few nonfiction books written on the subject: Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of KentuckyAnd the blue-skinned family(ies) of Kentucky:Fugates of KentuckyAgain, I'm sure that this is going to be well-received and well loved. It's been on several book lists already and has a 4.3 rating so far.It's just not for me.I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • tasha
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this beautifully scenic, heartbreaking read. I love a hist fic that teaches me something about the world that I know little about and this one does just that with the main character, Cussy Mary, who has a rare condition in which her skin appears blue and the Pack Horse Library Project, essentially a library on wheels...or pack mule. The setting in the deep hills of Kentucky in the 1930s is a fascinating setting to read about and it's filled with some very interesting people and I really enjoyed this beautifully scenic, heartbreaking read. I love a hist fic that teaches me something about the world that I know little about and this one does just that with the main character, Cussy Mary, who has a rare condition in which her skin appears blue and the Pack Horse Library Project, essentially a library on wheels...or pack mule. The setting in the deep hills of Kentucky in the 1930s is a fascinating setting to read about and it's filled with some very interesting people and a wonderful companion, Cussy's protective and fearless mule! This book has been getting a lot of buzz with my bookish friends and for good reason. The writing is strong but it's Cussy who really steals the show. She's a young, strong character who perseveres in the toughest of times and I just wanted to reach out and let her know people do care about her. The scene setting was very nicely done. For someone who will probably never get deep inside those Kentucky hills, I love exploring a place through the eyes of someone who has and it seems Kim Michele Richardson has been in those hills. I think this one would make a great book club read as there is so much to discuss. I read it alone and would have loved to have discussed events and characters with other readers. Thank you Netgalley, Kim Michele Rochardson and Sourcebooks Landmark for an advanced reader copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Karren Sandercock
    January 1, 1970
    Thank to NetGalley and Kim Michele Richardson for giving me the chance to read her wonderful book The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek.Cussy Mary is the last of the Kentucky blue people, they suffered from a rare genetic disorder called Methemoglobinemia that causes their skin to have a blue tinge.The story is set in the Appalachian mountains, where poverty, sickness and hunger is a sad part of life.Mary is a strong person, with the love and support of her father she has been raised to be kind an Thank to NetGalley and Kim Michele Richardson for giving me the chance to read her wonderful book The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek.Cussy Mary is the last of the Kentucky blue people, they suffered from a rare genetic disorder called Methemoglobinemia that causes their skin to have a blue tinge.The story is set in the Appalachian mountains, where poverty, sickness and hunger is a sad part of life.Mary is a strong person, with the love and support of her father she has been raised to be kind and considerate to others. Mary's pa is a coal miner, he has some rather old fashioned ideas and he think Mary needs to be married for her own safety. Lets just say offering a small plot of land and Marys hand in marriage to a much older man her pa makes a big mistake.The sad fact is the local ladies/community are mean and nasty to her and she is not made to feel welcome in the town.President Roosevelt's WPA Program was established to create jobs during the depression and to help isolated people.Mountain people were extremely poor, they had no money, little education and they were also starving.Cussy Mary is a pack horse librarian, she travels deep into the mountains riding on her mule, where each week she delivers worn out books, old magazines, health pamphlets and scrapbooks that she make up herself with recipes and other home making ideas.Many of the mountain people live in severe poverty, they don't like change, can't afford to see a doctor and are very superstitious. Through her job Mary visits people who are isolated from the outside world, they're very grateful for the service she provides, they don't judge her by the colour of her skin and she makes many friends.I really enjoyed The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek, it's a lovely story it shows by sharing knowledge, wisdom, kindness, hope, and the love of reading with people, lives can be changed and it's a truly a beautiful book.One of the best books I have read this year, I loved it and I gave it five stars.
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  • Patricia Doyle
    January 1, 1970
    Reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was like sitting on an old wooden rocker on the porch of an old rickety cabin listening to a granny telling of life in the coves and hollers of Kentucky. What a rough, hardscrabble life it was, filled with burdens and griefs, but also with love and small happinesses.Book Woman, Cussy Mary, was a ‘Blue’. Blues are people, mostly from Kentucky, who had a congenital blood disorder that caused their skin to be blue. (It’s true. I googled it.) Cussy Mary wa Reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was like sitting on an old wooden rocker on the porch of an old rickety cabin listening to a granny telling of life in the coves and hollers of Kentucky. What a rough, hardscrabble life it was, filled with burdens and griefs, but also with love and small happinesses.Book Woman, Cussy Mary, was a ‘Blue’. Blues are people, mostly from Kentucky, who had a congenital blood disorder that caused their skin to be blue. (It’s true. I googled it.) Cussy Mary was considered ‘colored’ because of this blueness and faced the same prejudices because of her skin color that blacks did.Cussy Mary, riding her mule Junia, brought her Pack Horse library with its books and magazines to her patrons and touched the lives of so many; even mine.What a beautifully written story. There were parts that made me tear up; some were sad tears, some were happy. There were parts that made my heart smile. BTBWoTC includes many historical settings, including a history of the Blue people, living in Appalachia, Troublesome Creek, the Pack Horse project, and so much more.A sincere thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book. It was definitely my pleasure. I absolutely loved it and recommend it to all my reading friends. This one deserves more than five stars. Well done, Ms. Richardson.
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