What I’m Reading: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

You all know that I love historical fiction…Pioneer, coming of age, poor, WWII, and other war time periods are probably my favorite.  I like to escape.  I like to see that my circumstances are actually VERY good.

When I saw this book, I was sure it deserved a listen.  It was set in Appalachia and to date, I haven’t had a bad book that was set in that region so I gave The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson a try.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek audiobook cover art
The book started out a little slow.  In the book they talk about people with a “blue” skin tone.  I had never heard of that before so I was a little confused by that.  I didn’t know if I was reading a sci-fi book but it didn’t seem that way.  Then I looked up “blue people” and got a better understanding.  After that, the book was better.  Then I got to the mid way point and finally the book was great.  It took me days to get to the middle of the book and then in a flash I finished it.

Here’s what Amazon had to say: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.

Amazon readers loved this book.  They gave it 4.7 stars.  I think I’d give the book 4.4 stars.  I really did like it but it did start a little slow.  If you pick the book up, be patient.  The slow beginning is worth the ending.

8 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”

  1. I heard Kim Richardson talk about the book at the ALA Midwinter meeting. I immediately put it on my must-read list (and I managed to snag several advance copies which I delighted in giving away). Because she explained about the blue people I didn’t have any problem getting into the story. What was particularly interesting was the prejudice on many levels — she was treated as “colored,” e.g. Negro/black. And the horribly unsafe medical treatment to change her color in an age before the regulations we now take for granted.

    If you’re interested in knowing more about the packhorse librarians, there’s a YA nonfiction book and there have been several magazine articles. But the one I’m looking forward to is The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes — about five women who joined the packhorse group.

  2. P.S. What really impressed me about Kim Richardson was that she’d left the text of her presentation at home so she gave the whole talk without her notes.

  3. Thank you, Nann, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I thank you also for telling us about another book about the packhorse librarians. It was a very interesting read for me.

  4. Carol Clindaniel

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book about the packhorse librarians and I look forward to reading, The Giver of Stars.

  5. I’ll have to find this one. I’ve heard of a Troublesome Creek in SE Kentucky. I’ll have to read the book to see if it may be based on that area. I have heard of the blue people.

  6. That is really interesting Jo. Thanks for sharing the info about the Blue People. I googled it and it is an interesting read.

  7. I have heard of the Blue People and I think I would like the book, its on the list from our library. Thanks for the share.

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