Title: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Author: Kim Michele Richardson
Page Count: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: ★★★✯☆ (3.5 – can’t put a half star so you get something fancier)
I got this as a preview copy from the nice people at
Netgalley. I will always be honest about a book no matter if I paid for it or not. There are also affiliate links in here, too 💜
I’m going to be in the minority here – I struggled to fall in love with The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and I’ve not got a bloody clue as to why. It had everything I love in a book – a solid story, historical accuracy (I’ll get onto this bit later) with a smidge of smoochy romance yet it didn’t sink it’s claws into me until I hit the 60% (ish) mark.
Set in rural (and horrifically prejudice) ’30s Kentucky, Cussy Mary is a Pack Horse Librarian (an institution set up to get reading materials out to rural areas) and a damn good one at that. This is a story about self-sacrifice and making changes to a broken world in the face of adversity. Every damn day she’d either be coaxing her fiercely loyal mule up pitch-black hills whilst watching out for snakes or ‘worse’ or at the centre gathering up books and magazines/anything so that she could spend even more time making scrapbooks for her patrons’ specific needs.
Books. Before. Bigots
Her one ‘flaw’? Having blue skin and being the last of her kind. That was it. Didn’t matter what good she did, how she enriched people’s lives or the literal starvation she endured so others got food in their bellies, racists will always ruin everything.
Whilst many people might think that Richardson is using a different tactic/twist to show what racism is like, and technically you might be right, this shit is all true. People with blue skin did indeed live in Troublesome Creek. There’s an article about it here and it’s fascinating.
And I ain’t any different than the white squirrel we’ve seen on Thousandstick Trace that scampers alongside the red and grays. They’re all just squirrels, all the same.
That’s the plot covered but what about the characters themselves? Cussy May is endearing. You can hear her accent in the words and by the end of the book, I just wanted to turn up on her doorstep with every book I could carry. You’ll get attached to her, you’ll want her to succeed and you’ll shed a few tears for her. Richardson did an excellent job of wiggling right into my miserable heart.
I just wish I could have loved this book a little more because I reckon a lot of humans will love this book. Oh, and it’s only 320 pages so well worth spending the time on.