The book woman of Troublesome Creek

Kim Michele Richardson

eBook - 2019

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.

Saved in:
Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Online Access
Instantly available on hoopla.
Cover image
Published
[United States] : Sourcebooks Inc 2019.
Language
English
Physical Description
1 online resource
Format
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
ISBN
9781492671534
1492671533
Access
AVAILABLE FOR USE ONLY BY IOWA CITY AND RESIDENTS OF THE CONTRACTING GOVERNMENTS OF JOHNSON COUNTY, UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, HILLS, AND LONE TREE (IA).
Main Author
Kim Michele Richardson (author)
Corporate Author
hoopla digital (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Cussy Mary Carter knows no one will want to marry her with her blue skin, a rare hereditary condition sometimes found in the mountains of Kentucky. She prefers it that way, since a married woman cannot work for the WPA, and being a Pack Horse librarian is the one light in her lonely, hardscrabble life. But her coal-miner father wants Cussy to be taken care of, which leads to a disastrous, mercifully brief marriage. Now the Widow Frazier—though she prefers what her young patrons call her, the Book Woman—is free to deliver scant reading materials to the most remote hollows of Troublesome Creek. Though Richardson's latest (after The Sisters of Glass Ferry, 2017) is essentially about the power of reading and libraries, it also explores the extreme rural poverty of 1930s Appalachia and labor unrest among coal miners. Readers will respond to quiet Cussy's steel spine as she undergoes cruel medical tests to cure her blueness, and book groups who like to explore lesser-known aspects of American history will be fascinated. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Richardson (Liar's Bench) takes readers to 1930s Troublesome Creek, KY, where Cussy Mary Carter works as a Kentucky Pack Horse Librarian. Under Roosevelt's WPA (Works Progress Administration), the Pack Horse Librarian initiative put unmarried women to work delivering books to remote locations in an effort to boost both literacy and female employment. Cussy Mary is not only a Pack Horse Librarian, she's a Blue. She's assumed to be the last of her kind—a group of blue-skinned folks regularly shunned, persecuted, and sometimes killed by white locals. Cussy Mary's work to spread literacy through the hills meets with her family's battles against poverty and racial animus, as a doctor sets out to "cure" her of her blue skin. Will turning Cussy Mary into a white woman solve her troubles? VERDICT Based on true stories from different times (the blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the WPA's Pack Horse Librarians), this novel packs a lot of hot topics into one narrative. Perfect for book clubs.—Julie Kane, Washington & Lee Lib., Lexington, VA Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This gem of a historical from Richardson (The Sisters of Glass Ferry) features an indomitable heroine navigating a community steeped in racial intolerance. In 1936, 19-year-old Cussy Mary Carter works for the New Deal–funded Pack Horse Library Project, delivering reading material to the rural people of Kentucky. It's a way of honoring her dead mother, who loved books, and it almost makes her forget the fact that her skin is blue, a family trait that sets her apart from the white community. The personable and dedicated Cussy forges friendships through her job, including with handsome farmer Jackson Lovett, who becomes Cussy's love interest. Cussy's ailing coal miner father, Elijah, insists she marry, but the elderly husband he finds for her, Charlie Frazier, dies on their wedding night. Pastor Vester Frazier, a vengeful relative, blames Cussy for Charlie's death and starts stalking her. The local doctor steps in to help, and Cussy repays Doc by letting him perform medical tests on her to learn the cause of her blue skin. A potential cure for Cussy's blue skin and a surprise marriage proposal set in motion a final quarrel among the townspeople over segregation laws that threatens Cussy's chance at happiness. Though the ending is abrupt and some historical information feels clumsily inserted, readers will adore the memorable Cussy and appreciate Richardson's fine rendering of rural Kentucky life. Agent: Stacy Testa, Writers House. (May) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

RECOMMENDED BY DOLLY PARTON IN PEOPLE MAGAZINE!A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA USA TODAY BESTSELLERA LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLERA PBS BOOK PICKThe bestselling historical fiction novel from Kim Michele Richardson, this is a novel following Cussy Mary, a packhorse librarian and her quest to bring books to the Appalachian community she loves, perfect for readers of William Kent Kreuger and Lisa Wingate. The perfect addition to your next book club!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.Look for The Book Woman's Daughter, the new novel from Kim Michele Richardson, out now!Other Bestselling Historical Fiction from Sourcebooks Landmark:The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie BenedictThe Engineer's Wife by Tracey Enerson WoodSold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris