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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 keen on Cussy's family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she's going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.
Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.
313 pages, Kindle Edition
First published May 7, 2019
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***