The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
By Kim Michele Ricardson
Many readers may be surprised to learn that several popular fiction titles are in fact, based on true-life stories and events. Such novels are especially enjoyable when set in areas or feature events that are familiar to the reader. This week CCPL Great Summer Reads is pleased to feature one of the newest additions to CCPL’s historical fiction collection, “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson.
Times are hard for the folks of Troublesome Creek, the little town nestled deep in the hills of Kentucky. While the Depression has taken a toll on the entire country, the hunger, and poverty that the hardworking Troublesome Creek residents have experienced is beyond belief. In truth, the area had been depressed for as long as most of them could remember, but now, thanks to President Roosevelt’s New Deal, the government intends to help with projects such as the Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project.
From the moment she first saw the flyers in town asking for womenfolk to apply for the job to “tote books around the hills,” Cussy Mary Carter knew she wanted to to be a Pack Horse Librarian. Once she is hired and begins visiting her patrons up in the hills, she knows she has found her calling as, “The Book Woman..” Unfortunately, Cussy isn’t just a book woman; she is also known as a Blue—actually the last female of blue mountain folk with lips and nails the color blue-jay blue, and skin the color of the bluet patches growing in the mountain woods.
In Troublesome Creek, not everyone thinks that books and learning are important, nor are they real fond of a Blue as their traveling librarian, Cussy, however, has seen first hand the joy that books have changed her neighbor’s world—bringing the hopeful world into their dreary lives and dark hollers. It is necessary. However, to make others believe in its importance and to be able to continue, she must first confront dangers and prejudices as old as the Appalachians.
Kim Michele Richardson writes that “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” was inspired by the true and gentle blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians who provided library service in the 1930s — meticulously researched, engaging characters, and richly detailed — highly recommended.
Kim Michele Richardson is a bestselling author who lives in Kentucky. In addition to “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” she the author of the bestselling memoir “The Unbreakable Child.” Her novels include “Liar’s Bench,” “GodPretty in the Tobacco Field” and “The Sisters of Glass Ferry.”
Readers can find “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” and other CCPL Great Summer Reads at the Calloway County Public Library in a variety of formats including print, eBook, and eAudio. CCPL is located at 710 Main Street and online at www.callowaycountylibrary.org.