The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim M. Richardson

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark
About the Book:
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.

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.



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