The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, Katie Schorr (Narrator)
Published May 7th 2019 by Blackstone Audio
I had heard so many good things about this book, that I decided I had to read it and am I glad I did. I loved it. Not only that, but I spent time researching and learning more about “The Blue People of Kentucky” and The Pack Horse Library Project. I had no idea.
This story grabbed me and had me listening all day and into the night to finish the story. Cussie Mary Carter, known as either Bluet or Book Lady, lived an amazing life. She lived alone with her father, who works in the coal mines. She wants to help support the family so gets a job with The Pack Horse Library Project. She loves her job and her patrons love her. Unfortunately, those in the town do not feel the same way. They think there is something wrong with her, that she is sick, and she is often refused entry to various places. I loved Cussie. She was an exceptional character who would give her food away to one of her patrons and go hungry herself. She has a huge heart and treats everyone well, even though they do not treat her the best. The love of books and reading shines through with this story. Even though things are difficult, food is scarce, homes have very little and many patrons are illiterate, they still love books and learning. There are a few other things that happen in this story that had me in tears, but I do not want to ruin the story for you. Please make sure that you read the author’s note at the end of the book. The plot and story are very well written and the pace for this story is just right. Some people may think it is a bit slow at times, but for this story, it fits, as that is the way life was in the Appalachians. Overall, this is a wonderful story, full of history, emotion, the love of reading and the strength of the human spirit. I definitely recommend this one.
I listened to the audiobook of this story narrated by Katie Schorr. She had a great voice and her accent and slow drawl enabled me to picture Cussie/Bluet. I could feel her emotion and the immediacy in some of the situations. I enjoyed this story, but I think I enjoyed it even more because of Katie Schorr’s performance.
About the Book: 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.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people–a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman’s chances beyond the darkly hollows. 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.