The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Yet another book that shows why librarians are the coolest and toughest scrappers hitting the grind for literacy. This evocative historical fiction set in the 1930s paints a vivid picture of Appalachian Kentucky and the hill country's colorful, impoverished people. Cussy, also known as Bluet for her blue-tinged skin, is feared, loved, and hated by everyone. She is the last living female with her blue-skin condition, and is treated as a pariah by people who don't understand it's just a genetic condition caused by an enzyme deficiency. Cussy is tough but extremely kind and giving. She takes a job as a Pack-Horse Librarian after a brutal forced marriage that almost led to her death. She rides a cantankerous mule through the twisted and and dangerous Appalachian hills to reach her patrons, bringing them reading material and the loving, kindnesses of a true, gentlewoman. I used to volunteer housing service work in Appalachian Kentucky as a teen, and the imagery depicted in this book really brought me back in time. I loved reading about that swirling fog, switchback roads, and fiercely loyal neighbors. Cussy is determined to reach her patrons, and they return her dedication with kindness that turns out to be her saving grace in the end when she needs it most. This book is rife with sorrow but also spilling over the top with heart-warming goodness.
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