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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  23,618 ratings  ·  4,485 reviews
The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything--everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Emma After reading both books, I agree with Madalene who said the Book Woman is more complex and feels more researched. Giver of Stars was entertaining,…moreAfter reading both books, I agree with Madalene who said the Book Woman is more complex and feels more researched. Giver of Stars was entertaining, whereas, Book Woman felt true and more enlightening.(less)
Wendy I think this book is ripe for a sequel. I also think a nonfiction book about the author's experience in gathering her research and stories from the…moreI think this book is ripe for a sequel. I also think a nonfiction book about the author's experience in gathering her research and stories from the Appalachian people would make for a fantastic nonfiction book.

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Angela M
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
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 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
Diane S ☔
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Brenda -Traveling Sister
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
Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!!
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
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
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.

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 works in the
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

Lindsay - Traveling Sister
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
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Book of Secrets°ღ
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Cindy Burnett
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is about a young woman, Cussie 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.

Cussie is a special young woman, in mmany 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
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,
Cathrine ☯️
The bluegrass state, blue moon over, bluebirds in the trees, blue-eyed marys growing beneath, and come to find out— blue people among them, but not on the cover. Why is that?

Main character Cussy, AKA Bluet, is one, due to a rare genetic condition. She and her father suffer prejudice and poverty. He is slowly dying underground in the mines while she, on her mule, delivers library materials to remote mountain folk in the hills and hollers during the 1930s.
People are happy to see her and
An enlightening and fascinating historical fiction novel that was impossible to put down and will be a hard book to forget.

THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK is about the WPA Pack Horse Library Project of 1935 and the factual Blue People of eastern Kentucky. It’s a tribute to the librarians who traveled on horseback and mule to provide books to the poor and isolated communities in Kentucky.

Cussy Mary Carter is the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. She becomes a
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
“I never understood why other people thought my color, any color, needed fixing.” 9 likes
“Being able to return to the books was a sanctuary for my heart. And a joy bolted free, lessening my own grievances, forgiving spent youth and dying dreams lost to a hard life, the hard land, and to folks’ hard thoughts and partialities.” 5 likes
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