Summary and book reviews of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

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

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Book Summary

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.

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.

Kentucky, 1936

The librarian and her mule spotted it at the same time. The creature's ears shot up, and it came to a stop so sudden its front hooves skidded out, the pannier slipping off, spilling out the librarian's books. An eddy of dirt and debris lifted, stinging the woman's eyes. The mule struggled to look upward, backward, anywhere other than at the thing in front of it.

The book woman couldn't keep her eyes off the spectacle as she shortened the reins and clamped her legs against the mule's sides. Again, she prodded her mount. Baring tall, sassing teeth, the beast lift-ed its muzzle into the balsam--sweetened air, the quavering brays blis-tering the sleepy mountain.

The woman stiffened, drawing the reins in tighter. In front of her, a body swayed back and forth below the fat branch from which it hung. A rope, collared tight around the neck, creaked from the strain of its weight. A kettle of turkey buzzards circled above, dipping their ugly, naked heads toward the lifeless ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. The Kentucky Pack Horse program was implemented in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to create women's work programs and to assist economic recovery and build literacy. Looking at the novel, how did the program affect the people in this remote area? Do you think library programs are still a vital part of our society today?
  2. How has a librarian or booklover impacted your life? Have you ever connected with a book or author in a meaningful way? Explain.
  3. Missionaries, government, social workers, and various religious groups have always visited eastern Kentucky to reform, modernize, and mold hillfolk to their acceptable standards. Do you think Cussy faced this kind of prejudice from the outside world? Is there any prejudice ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A unique story about Appalachia and the healing power of the written word.

Author Blurb Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Almost Sisters
Emotionally resonant and unforgettable, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a lush love letter to the redemptive power of books.

Author Blurb Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Liar Temptress Soldier Spy
A timeless and significant tale about poverty, intolerance and how books can bring hope and light to even the darkest pocket of history.

Author Blurb Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants
[A] hauntingly atmospheric love letter to the first mobile library in Kentucky and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and--just as importantly--a compassionate human connection.

Author Blurb Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of One Foot in Eden and Serena
Fascinating…impressive storytelling.

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