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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  54,212 ratings  ·  8,622 reviews
The New York Times and USA Today bestseller!

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 treach
Paperback, 308 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Leighellen Landskov Read both!! There are multiple books written about other historical events (off the top of my head, I can think of at least 5 books about prisoners in…moreRead both!! There are multiple books written about other historical events (off the top of my head, I can think of at least 5 books about prisoners in Auschwitz) each with their own unique perspective. Richardson is actually from Kentucky and Moyes is from the UK, so they will bring their own background to the story. We can never have too many books that enlighten us about the past! (less)
Jeanne I was sort of shocked by the leap from the end of the next to the last chapter to the final chapter when the baby is already talking, reading, and so …moreI was sort of shocked by the leap from the end of the next to the last chapter to the final chapter when the baby is already talking, reading, and so on. I would have liked to see how the new family managed to stay together to begin their new hopeful life that the narrow-minded people in Troublesome Creek wouldn't allow.(less)

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Angela M
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I finished this book, I thought it was such a good story and I immediately gave it four stars, but then I thought about it more as I was writing this. I thought about what a meaningful story it is, what an amazing and strong character Cussy Mary Carter is, what a realistic depiction of time and place is presented here, about how much I learned from it, how touched I was, and the wonderful way that the author blends the story of the Blue People of Kentucky with the Pack Horse Library Project ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-completed
Update: Today, May 07, 2019 is Happy Publication Date!

In the fierce, majestic mountains and hollers of Appalachian Kentucky in the 1930’s, there were many small towns and communities that were so isolated some people never saw a newspaper. Or, if they did, it was used to paper a layer to the insides of their tiny homes to help keep the weather out. Books, for the most part, were a luxury, and often only family Bibles or the odd family heirloom would be in the home.

In the 1930’s people everywhere
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
This was an incredibly original story with a main character that I had so many feelings for! I love when a book makes me go to the internet and research, "blue people" and "book women", I had no idea that there was ever a project such as this. These women really had to love books to hand deliver them to people in the high hills of Kentucky.

My only problem with it was that it was very slowly paced. However when I thought further about it, perhaps it was written that way because that's how Cussy
Diane Barnes
I know I'm rowing against the tide in my review of this book, but my 3 stars is for the things I liked, and I'm not subtracting for the things I didn't. It was a great story with likable characters (for the most part), and I enjoyed the research and information on both the blue people of Kentucky and the Book Women who brought books and magazines to the impoverished families in the hills.

Suffice it to say that the writing was uneven, the dialect was not consistent, and the ending was a little to
Mary Beth
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cussy is a pack horse librarian and she delivers books to people that live in the mountains of Kentucky. She has blue skin. The year is 1936 and the setting takes place in the Appalachian Mountains into the woods of Troublesome Creek. Cussy is a nineteen year old and she is the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. She suffers from a hereditary condition called methemoglobinemia. There is a lot of poverty in this town and it was so heartbreaking. Their life is so tough. The people ...more
Diane S ☔
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
From the beginning I adored Cussy or Bluet as she is called by some. A pack librarian in the Kentucky Appalachians, she delivers books to folks living in the hollers. As part of FDRs work program, she rides her mule and delivers her books. This is depression era, 1930' and people are struggling, making them look forward to the books, newspapers or magazines she brings. Some cannot read, so she reads to them, some are just learning to read, and some just look st the picture She is in all ways won ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
"To handle yourself, use your head, to handle others use your heart." - Eleanor Roosevelt

My favorite kinds of books are those that not only draw me in but educate me, cause me to feel and to think. This one fit the bill perfectly. Not only did I learn more about the Blue People of Kentucky and their rare genetic trait, but I also learned more about the Pack Horse library project which was the brainstorm of Eleanor Roosevelt. According to "Sixty -three percent of people who lived
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Please check out our Q & A with Kim Michele Richardson. She shared some insight into her research and to her story with us. We could feel her passion and love for her story.

Follow this link to see what she had to say

My review

Kim Michele Richardson brings us a unique, fascinating, impressive, unforgettable story here that explores a part of history in Kentucky that is not well known or forgotten. She weaves some history along with fiction to create a viv
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, powerful, and moving!

THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK by KIM MICHELE RICHARDSON is an interesting, heartfelt, beautiful, and informative story that is packed full of well-researched historical content that I personally never knew about before. Although this story depicts place, people, and time extremely well it had me curious to pop onto the internet numerous times to do a little bit of searching of my own. I had no clue about the “blue people” of Kentucky and the Pack Horse Lib
Troublesome almost misnomer of limited location to the backwoods of Kentucky. Seems that Troublesome holds no boundaries and its edges of tainted water overflow onto humanity. An attitude, a prejudice, an indescribable hate that still visits upon shores.

Kim Michele Richardson presents a beautifully rendered story of life in the hills and the mountains of Kentucky in 1936 in which women, and sometimes men, endeavored to deliver reading materials to the folk in Roosevelt's Pack Horse
Susanne  Strong
5 Fabulous & Wondrous Stars!

My First 5 Star Read of the 2020! Oh What a Brilliant Read! Thank you to my Goodreads Friend Angela, for putting this on her Best of Goodreads list for 2019 and reminding me that I needed to read it!

Cussy Mary Carter is an employee of the Pack Horse Librarian Project, delivering books to the people of Kentucky by horse. She is also the last female of the Blue People ancestry, in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky.

Everyone calls her Bluet, for the color of her skin.

Let me j
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cussy Mary Carter was arguably the last "blue skinned person" in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. The year, 1936. Living in a backwoods, one-room log house, life was a struggle for the nineteen year old and her pa, a coal miner. Pa lit a "courting candle", intent upon making sure Cussy "will knot". Suitors would come and go wanting "a surety" that their progeny would not be blue. Cussy, nicknamed "Bluet", was subjected to taunts, prejudice and continuous ridicule due to her cobalt-blue skin color. H ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this story so much!

The Pack Horse Library Project was established in 1935 by President Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration... an effort to bring jobs to women and bring books and reading material to the poor and isolated areas of Appalachia, where there were few schools and inaccessible roads.

Cussy Mary was one of these women who had a route.. she was 19 yrs old, a coal miner’s daughter, who’s father was trying to marry her off, because he had the bad lung from mining, and wanted
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars!

Heartbreaking and heartwarming storyline. Inspiring and unforgettable characters. Exquisitely stunning prose. Engrossingly palpable atmosphere. A beautiful book that tugged at my heart strings. I loved every single page of this novel.

Cussy is a young woman living in the remote hills of Kentucky with her coal miner father. She is known as the last blue-skinned woman. Growing up as an outcast in her village, she is used to being shunned and belittled. She takes on a job with the Pack Hor
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was a story I savored. The experience of reading it is one I won’t soon forget. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

In the 1930s, Cussy Mary Carter is living in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. Her skin is blue, and she is considered “colored” at the time. She’s lonely, and she works hard as a Pack Horse Librarian running books to people in the hills and mountains that would have no access to books if not for her and her loyal pack mule, Junia.

I should also mention Cussy Mary’s Pa wor
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A 2019 Favorite!

Thanks to President Roosevelt's NEW DEAL and WPA (Works Progress Administration) program, horse and mule riding librarians took to the remote backroads, more like overgrown trails through the woods and mud-packed steep mountains delivering and talking books. Such hunger for books....and food in the midst of the GREAT depression.

It's 1936 Kentucky when we first meet 19 year old Cussy Mary Carter and her pa who desperately wants to see her hitched and cared for....because he prom

Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019
This is a fascinating book full of historical facts that I never knew before. I love discovering new information from my fiction reads!

The book woman of Troublesome Creek is someone very rare - a member of the blue people of Kentucky. This was real. As a result of inbreeding some people developed a rare blood condition which meant their skin was blue and their blood was brown. At a time when white was the only colour to be, these blue skinned people were shunned as 'coloured' and excluded from m
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Life was inhospitable to everyone in the Kentucky bills of 1936, but even more so for the Blue people. Treated even worse than blacks, they were viewed with suspicion and prejudice. Shunned as if they were evil spirits. Cussy Mary Carter is a book woman, part of the Pack Horse Library Project. She’s also the last of the Blue people.
This isn’t a fast paced book. In parts, it dragged. Not the best pick as an audio selection. But it is heartfelt, as Cussy is plagued by hunger, the threat of violen
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A compelling and story about adaptability, and courage, told With compassion and delicacy Kim Michele Richardson presents a little known chapter of American history that is inspired by the true blue skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse Library service of the 1930s.

Historical Fiction Novels uses emotion to make facts matter and I find these types of novels so important in giving us a glimpse into events and happenings of the past that we might never read ab
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This title is a lure in itself for any book loving folks. And what a fascinating story it was. It’s 1935 and Cussy is a blue woman! What?!? Yes, apparently blue people existed in Kentucky and were treated no better than the blacks. Maybe even a little worse. But Cussy, also known as Bluet and the Book Woman, shares her love of reading by delivering books to the people in the hills who don’t have easy access to libraries or schools. Her journeys are thrilling as she shares her passion with those ...more
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is about a young woman, Cussy Mary Carter, also named Bluet, who worked for the Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky, delivering books and other reading materials to people up in the hills and mountains around Troublesome Creek in the 1930s.

Cussy is a special young woman, in many ways - her skin is blue, her blood is like chocolate. She and her father are the last people with this condition, a rare genetic disorder. Her father is a miner and they barely scra
Diana | Book of Secrets
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cussy Mary was such a compelling and unique character in this novel set in depression-era Kentucky. I warmed to her and her amazing story right away. ♥

Part of President Roosevelt's plan to bring jobs to struggling rural areas was the Pack Horse Library Project. Working for this program, Cussy and her mule delivered second-hand books to the poorest of mountain folks surrounding Troublesome Creek.

Cussy was called Bluet by many locals because of the uncommon color of her skin. She was a descendant
I love novels where the story telling is based on true historical facts, especially when they are something I'd never heard of before. In this novel, the author weaves together two interesting, well researched historical episodes from 1930s Kentucky to tell a fascinating and memorable story.

Nineteen year old Cussy Mary Carter and her widowed coal miner father live in a small shack near Troublesome Creek, where they barely scrape by on his meagre wages and her small salary as a librarian for the
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
What a great listen! I loved that the audiobook dropped me right in the middle of rural Kentucky in the 1930s. Cussy Mary, the main character/narrator, spoke in a thick dialect that sounded perfectly natural while listening. I might not have enjoyed this quite so much if I had tried to read her speech patterns, so I'd highly suggest listening to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.

Kim Michele Richardson must have done an incredible amount of research to portray life during the Great Depression s
Melissa Buehner
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-kindle
I loved this book. LOVED IT.

This is the story of Cussy Mary Carter, a traveling "book woman" in Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project. She traverses the rough Appalachians to deliver books to the people who reside in the hills and would otherwise not have access to any sort of reading material. Cussy is also "a blue," the last in her family line with a rare genetic blood disorder that turns her skin a pale shade of blue.

The writing is absolutely stunning -- lyrical . . . poetic, even.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book broke my heart, twisted it, stomped on it, and then uplifted it. I cried and raged as I read it. It is an emotional hotbed kind of read dealing with extreme poverty and hardship, discrimination, and perseverance.

Cussy Mary Carter is a "Blue" (the last female of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky) who lives with her father (a "Blue" coal miner) and who works for Roosevelt's WPA Pack Horse Library Project. She delivers books to isolated mountain people. These people are so poor some ar
Oh this book! It just got me in all the right places! I really struggled to put this down at all -- I wanted to read straight through to see what was going to happen next for Cussy Mary. In this book, Author Kim Michele Richardson paints the most exquisitely detailed picture of what life would have been like during the depression in the Kentucky hills.

I alternated between reading an ARC and listening to the audiobook as narrated by Katie Schorr. If you are an audiobook fan (and maybe even if yo
Cindy Burnett
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a gem of a book and a tribute to the importance of books. Richardson tackles numerous topics from Kentucky in the 1930s - horrific coal mining conditions, the true blue-skinned people that lived in Appalachia, and the Pack Horse library service. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a tale of family, prejudice, and perseverance, and one woman’s decision to find her own way despite her hardscrabble existence. One of my favorite parts of the book was Richard ...more
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 fantastic blue stars to “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”

Every once in a while, a book turns out to be an amazing surprise, not much hype yet, but something about it draws you in. This is the case with this book. I found it very intriguing to read about women (mostly) who would take books to isolated folks in Kentucky and other rural spots via horseback. Imagine my surprise when the main character is described as having blue skin – I had to rethink the genre of this book, was this science
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I also loved the setting deep in the woods of 1936 Kentucky. I don't think I've read anything like this before, and hadn't even heard of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky.

Cussy Carter was a great character! She is a strong and determined young woman who is the last of her kind. She is part of the Pack Horse Library Project that I thought was so cool. She rides around on her ill-tempered mule, Junia, deliveri
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Kim Michele Richardson lives in Kentucky and resides part-time in Western North Carolina. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, building houses, and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, partnering with the U.S. Navy globally to bring awareness and education to the prevention of domestic violence. She is the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable ...more

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