"...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."--Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants
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.
Additional Praise for The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek:
"A unique story about Appalachia and the healing power of the written word."--Kirkus
"A timeless and significant tale about poverty, intolerance and how books can bring hope and light to even the darkest pocket of history."--Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Liar Temptress Soldier Spy
"Emotionally resonant and unforgettable, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a lush love letter to the redemptive power of books."--Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Almost Sisters
- ISBN-13: 9781492671527
- ISBN-10: 1492671525
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
- Publish Date: May 2019
- Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.62 pounds
- Page Count: 320
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Contemporary postal carriers don’t realize how good they’ve got it. Yes, there are the occasional dogs, inclement weather or the gloom of night, but these inconveniences pale in comparison to the would-be rapists, bigots and crazed preachers on the trail for Cussy Mary Carter in Kim Michele Richardson’s impassioned new novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.
A courier for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famed Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Cussy is tasked with delivering library books over treacherous paths to impoverished hill folk, rural farmers and coal miners who toil in the Appalachian Mountains during the Great Depression. Cussy, 19, who makes her deliveries on the back of her faithful pack mule, considers her job a necessary one and part of “a respectable life” despite her father’s protestations. Cussy is one of the last of her kind, a blue-skinned woman (resulting from a real-life genetic blood disorder called methemoglobinemia), and so Pa wants her safe. He’d rather see her married off so she’ll have someone to take care of her when he no longer can. He even arranges such a marriage, only for her husband to die from an apparent heart attack while raping her.
Freed of the marriage she didn’t want, Cussy returns to her true passion in her old job of traveling librarian. For many, her visits are more than welcome, and the books she brings offer hope for brighter days, an escape from their daily doldrums and a singular connection to the outside world. But there are also those who distrust both the books she brings—some women complain that “she’s carrying dirty books up them rocks”—and her mysterious blue hue. And there are the aforementioned threats along the trail itself, including Pastor Frazier, the unstable cousin of her late husband, who fears she’s delivering the word of Satan. But Cussy’s strong will and commitment drive her forward.
Richardson has penned an emotionally moving and fascinating story about the power of literacy over bigotry, hatred and fear.