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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  108,380 ratings  ·  14,679 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, 309 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark
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Norma Book Woman is a far better piece of writing and has the added aspect of the blue people. The other one is fluffy, which is fine if you like that sort …moreBook Woman is a far better piece of writing and has the added aspect of the blue people. The other one is fluffy, which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but Book Woman is haunting and unforgettable and brilliant.(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 Ap…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
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
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 t
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
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
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
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (Author), Katie Schorr (Narrator)

It's 1936, in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, and nineteen year old Cussy Mary Carter is one of Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project's traveling librarians. These brave and stubborn women face the weather, rough terrain, unsavory characters, and all manner of dangers on their daily routes to deliver books and other reading material to the poor and starving in this area. Cussy has the
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 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, historical
CW: Racist language

I read this book to the end, and I’m so sorry I did. It is absolute bullshit. Not only is it poorly written—the use of dialect is nice but the prose is disgustingly overwrought—but it’s also essentially a white woman’s attempt to co-opt the lived experiences and realities of actual people of color (Black people specifically) for the sake of white folks, yes even white folks with a genetic condition that causes blue skin.

There is NO WAY IN HELL being a white person with blue
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
Melissa ~ Bantering Books
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.
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
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
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
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
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
I recently read The Giver of Stars and I guess there was some controversy between the two because they have similar subject matter and came out close to each other. Since this one came out first, there have even been some suggestions of idea stealing on the part of Moyes. I wanted to be sure to read this one, too, so I could give my opinion on the matter.

My conclusion: the horseback librarians of Kentucky were a real thing that suddenly more than one author was interested in making a backdrop fo
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
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I mostly read this book because of The Giver of Stars since many claimed Moyes copied Richardson. While I don't think this is the case here (too close release date and completely different stories other than the protagonist(s) are packhorse librarians from Kentucky during the same era), they do have similar premises. The Giver of Stars is a short soap opera with lots of drama and well, useless events. Enjoyable and interesting, sure but the fact remains that it became overdramatic at so
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
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
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
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man."
~ T.S Eliot

"The printed word that brought a hopeful world into their dreary lives and dark hollers."

A beautiful and fascinating read! This book is a must read for everyone, who understands the value of books and human life.

Inspired by true events and real people, set in Kentucky and in the year 1936, Kim Michele Richardson's The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is the amazing story of n
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
Since reading the picture book That Book Woman by Heather Henson a few years ago, my interest in the pack-horse librarian project has lead me to listen to Jojo Moyes's The Giver of Stars and now recently, Richardson's The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I have heard controversy about the two books being very similar and were only published a few months apart. The only similarities that I noticed were:
1. both are about the pack-horse librarians of Kentucky;
2. both have a love interest; and
3. bo
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
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Once again, I am the odd one out with this novel. Although I enjoyed learning about this very rare genetic condition that causes skin to have a blue hue and about the mobile libraries on mule back bringing old books and magazines to rural Appalachia, I thought the story was overly sweet and predictable, the writing clichéd and the characters insufficiently complex. I foresaw the ending about 10% into the book. Characters were either good and strong, or cruel, prejudiced and religious. The reader ...more
What a heartfelt and very important book! I listened to the audio and the narrator's voice was perfect for Cussy Mary. This book was beautifully written and researched.

It is 1936 and Cussy Mary lives in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. She is a pack horse librarian who delivers books to the poor people of the Appalachian Mountains. 📚🐴 Each week they look forward to her visits and books. She is a shining ray of light to them. Cussy herself lives a very hard life. She has been nicknamed, "Blueit" beca
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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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