Book lovers, this one’s for you. If you’re a fan of Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society—not in structure or character, but rather the general theme of the book that stories connect unexpected people—then Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is your next cozy read. It’ll make you cry, gasp, get angry, and cheer out loud.
Native Kentuckian, Kim Michele Richardson, introduces readers to a forgotten, perhaps unknown, history of the American Depression in the haunting hills of the Appalachians. Richardson echoes the tragedies of the American Great Depression in her latest novel, Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, and carves out her own piece of unique, devastating, redemptive history.
Lacking hope, people of Troublesome Creek Kentucky often failed to secure basic human needs, like feed their children, warm their feet in a frozen winter, and keep a splinter from causing death. And yet, Richardson honors the true lives of Troublesome Creek through the precious pursuits of love, friendship, and purpose. It is books that weave unlikely lives together and encourage folks to find hope in a desperate decade.
The keeper of this hope? They called them Book Women. The women that rode over the treacherous hills of the Appalachians to loan magazines, newspapers, and books to anyone no matter status, color, or gender. Per President Roosevelt’s New Deal, literature reached areas of the United States that have never learned to read, empowering the minority with the gift of literacy. This was a gateway to independence, self-reliance, and freedom for the different, the underprivileged, the unallowed in that cruel community.
Now there is something I haven’t mentioned yet about this book, and why it is such a unique story. The Appalachian hills of Kentucky also held another secret, the secret of the Blue people.
Book woman, Cussy Mary Carter, of Troublesome Creek doesn’t want to marry, but instead wants to pursue her dream as a Pack Horse Librarian. As a woman and a blue, however, Cussy’s father strongly suggests, almost as a dying wish, she come to terms with marriage. Cussy, sometimes called Bluet, navigates her independence in a cruel, lonely, small-minded community while balancing her father’s desires for his only child.
Cussy’s intense determination to help those who have nothing, and she herself has nothing, is the hero I need right now. She bleeds gratitude and cherishes the people around her, though despite her constant (and I mean constant) abuse in a bigoted, small-minded Appalachian town, Cussy chooses kindness over revenge, and shows the love for her community through the gift of literacy.
Kim Michele Richardson respectfully charters the life of the burdened, the unwanted, and the courageous, guiding them with compassion through their suffering. She honors the true lives of the Packhorse Librarians, who braved the treacherous routes of unsavory climate, wildlife, and even the occasional lurking villain.
Richardson reminds her readers that empathy is always a good start to overcoming our fears, to understanding our fears. Books, literature, words, perspectives encourage empathy.
Characters drive the tale of Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, introducing readers to full body characters, descriptive landscapes, and modern parallelisms of social prejudices.
Psst. I’m looking for friends to talk all about the beauty of this book:
I was able to snag a copy through Prime Lending on Amazon. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, then this book can be yours for freeeeeee.