MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

A Novel

by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson X
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2019, 320 pages
    May 2019, 320 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Hartman picked up the courting candle, shoved it toward my face. Cringing, he dropped the deed and, in one weighty puff, blew out the flame.

"Not even for all of Kentucky." His old, rotted breath whisked through black smoke, taking mine.

* * *

Weren't a week later, Pa set back out my time-keeping candle, raising the taper to its longest burn. By the end of Jan-uary and three courters later, he'd made sure he wouldn't have to again.

The man showed up in the early afternoon wearing a worn hat. He took his time reading the deed, then sat tight--lipped, raking his fingers through his thinning hair, snatching glances at the courting candle's flame. Several times he shifted, smacked his limp hat against stained britches, each move sparking a new plume of rancid odor. After two porch visits with the suitor, Pa gave his blessing the last week of Janu-ary and signed over the deed, snuffing out my last courting candle. The old squire shot up from his seat and grabbed the document. Avoiding my face, he leered at my body, his eyes lingering on my breasts, taking stock of his new possession.

I clung to Pa on our porch. "I don't want to marry," I'd said, afraid. "I don't want to leave you." My eyes flitted to the old man waiting out in the yard beside his mule. He stared back, tapped his leg with the hat, each smack growing louder and more impatient.

"Daughter," Pa said, cupping my chin in his calloused hand, "you must take a man and live your life. Be safe." He turned away, took a ragged breath, and coughed several times. "You must. I have to make sure you won't be alone when I'm gone—-keep my promise to your mama." His tired lungs wheezed and he coughed again, the coal mine thieving his time.

"I have my books!"

"It is a foolishness you have, Daughter." A sorrow clung to his stick--throated voice.

"I'll lose my route, my patrons. Please, I can't lose them." I gripped his sleeve and shook. "Please, not him."

"You'll have yourself a big family. The Fraziers are an old clan with kinfolk all over these hills."

"But he's kin to Pastor Vester Frazier." I pressed a palm to my gal-loping heart thinking about him, his hunt--hungry congregation, and their deadly baptismal waters down at the creek. "Pa, you know what the preacher does to folks like us, what he's done—-"

Pa laid a hand on my shoulder and shook his head. "He doesn't asso-ciate with the likes of the preacher man, and he gave me his word that he'll protect you. It's growing late, Daughter. I must get ready. The Company has several cars they're expecting me to load today, or I'll lose my job. Get on now to your new family," he gently urged.

I'd looked at the man in the yard twisting the floppy cake--like hat in his hand, coiling our old Carter land deed, nervously shifting to one short muscly leg and then the other, small eyes darting between us and his bone--ribbed mule, anxious to leave. Gusts of wintry air tore across the brow of the woods, shaking branches and whipping his stringy gray--flecked hair.

"But, Pa, please, I'm…I'm frightened of him." I searched for my hankie, gave up, and wiped my runny nose on a coat sleeve.

"Mr. Frazier will give you his name and see that you have a roof over your head and food in your belly."

"I have a name, the Only name I want! Book Wom-an."

Pa's eyes filled with turmoil. His face crumpled. I was sure he didn't want me to go, but he was more afraid not to let me. I was just as frightened to leave him, and more, for the likes of that out there in the yard.

"Please, Pa, you know'd how Mama loved the books and wanted them for me." Mama. Her absence ached in my heart, and I was desperate for her comforting arms.

"Your mama wanted you safe, Daughter."

Frazier moved closer to the mule, drawing in his shoulders, bracing against the bitter cold.

Excerpted from The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Cheryl Richardson. Copyright © 2019 by Cheryl Richardson. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Pack Horse Library Project

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Lightness of Hands
    The Lightness of Hands
    by Jeff Garvin
    The stillness that comes right after reading a book that has wrapped itself firmly around your heart...
  • Book Jacket: The Vanishing Half
    The Vanishing Half
    by Brit Bennett
    Brit Bennett's second novel, The Vanishing Half (after The Mothers, her 2016 bestselling debut), ...
  • Book Jacket
    Tropic of Violence
    by Nathacha Appanah
    Marie is a nurse working in Mayotte, a cluster of French territory islands in the Indian Ocean. When...
  • Book Jacket: Death in Mud Lick
    Death in Mud Lick
    by Eric Eyre
    When Eric Eyre, investigative and statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Daily, began ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Last Flight
by Julie Clark

The story of two women and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.



Solve this clue:

M's T W!

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.