The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Author: Kim Michele Richardson
Published: May 7, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry.
The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.
Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government’s new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.
Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Packhorse Librarians in literary novels—a story of fierce strength and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.
This book has been on my list for a while. The description sounded interesting and I don’t really know much about the blue people of Kentucky. Plus, Cussy is a librarian … she’s one of us! Unfortunately, I felt really disconnected from her story. The plot is basically Cussy’s route up and down the mountains. It’s supposed to be an emotional tale and sadly, I was feeling a little
too shallow while reading it. Though, Ivan came in awfully handy with his medical knowledge once the doctor tried to figure out how to heal Cussy of her color. Thankfully we didn’t have get quite as detailed as we did with Five Feet Apart, but his input was very helpful. I liked most of the characters, even the ones I was supposed to hate. And I did hate them, I just liked to hate
them. I also appreciated how this was not a “white people bad, colored people good” story.
Richardson kept it realistic, showing how all people, regardless of color, can be mean and ignorant. But I was rather unhappy with the ending. It felt like another incomplete dud of an ending. I was left feeling unfulfilled. But overall, this was a good book and I’m glad I read it. I do recommend it to the historical fiction lovers. It gives good historical info and opens the door to further research.