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320 pages, Hardcover
First published May 7, 2019
"The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man."
~ T.S Eliot
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 promised her ma....because of his black lung illness from working the mines.
So pa continues to set out the courting candle....to Mary's chagrin, but there ain't many takers even with a dowry of $5 and 10 acres bc Mary is one of the blue people....mistreated, misunderstood and kept at arm's length.
Nicknamed Bluet, Mary loves her freedom and job delivering and reading her books....even teaches some of her patrons to read, those who do not fear her color.
Mary is good people, generous and a fighter, and together with her old grey mule Junia delivers books, recipes, patterns and messages deep into the woods....even as she is being watched and hunted. (good creep factor)
This wonderful work of historical fiction is a page-turner of a story, so interesting and informative, about the tough and dangerous job of the pack horse librarians and blue people of the Appalachians.
Loved this one! Highly Recommend!
***Many thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark via NetGalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review***