Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson


Title:  The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Author:  Kim Michele Richardson

Narrated by:  Katie Schorr

Publisher:  Blackstone Audio

Length: Approximately 9 hours and 26 minutes

Source: Purchased from Audible

 What is the last book your book club has read?  The “Rogue” Book club officially started in 2009.  We’ve had members come and go through the years, but it’s been fun meeting and discussing books and lives.  Our kids have all been growing up through the years too.  We’ve had a hiatus the past few months due to crazy kid sports schedule, but we are finally getting together again in December.  Our book is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. It’s my pick and the meeting will be at my house.  I’ve heard great things about this book for a while, so I was happy to finally read it.  I had a lot of driving over the past few weeks for work, so I listened to it via audiobook.

 Cussy Mary Carter loves her job as a pack horse librarian as part of Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack horse Library Project.  She works in her local area of Troublesome, but while she meets interesting people on her route, it can also be dangerous.   In particular, Cussy Mary is called “Bluet” by locals because she appears blue due to a genetic disorder called, Methemoglobinemia.   She is treated as a “colored” by locals and feared due to her blue skin.  A local pastor stalks her on her path as he wants to “cure” her.  Her father also has old fashioned standards and is determined to wed Cussy Mary to any man that will take her.  Cussy Mary does not want to marry without love and she does not want to give up her librarian position. Will Cussy Mary be able to escape the prejudice and a forced husband and live the life she wants to live?

 I loved the unique setting and plot for this novel.  I had never read about the Pack Horse Library Project nor the blue people of Kentucky.  I thought it was very interesting.  I was intrigued when Cussy Mary became the point of research to figure out what caused her blue skin.  I loved the descriptions of her travels through the hills and hollers and the difference she made in people’s lives.  Sometimes she was the only person they saw for long periods of times.  She brought them news, novels, recipes, and more.  Cussy Mary was a great character.  She had strength and determination.  I was horrified though that such an independent woman could have that independence ripped away when her father forced her into an unwanted and abusive marriage. I was also horrified by the descriptions of the poor children literally starving to death in the novel. The Depression was a hard time, especially in the Appalachian Mountains.

 Katie Schorr was a fine narrator of the audiobook.  I loved that in my physical copy of the book, it has vintage pictures of the pack horse library project.  It also has questions for a book club and a conversation with the author discussing how she got the idea and wrote this novel.  I already have a hold on The Book Woman’s Daughter, the follow-up novel, at the library.

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