Monday, May 11, 2020

Book Woman an Atmospheric, Evocative Novel About the Transformative Power of Reading

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Cussy Mary Carter is a woman who stands out for many reasons, not just because she's the last of her kind.  The 19-year-old is one of Kentucky's famous Blue people, the only one still living.  It's not just her blue-tinged skin that sets her apart, however.  She's also one of the few women courageous enough to venture into the rugged mountains and deep hollers of Appalachia to deliver books to folks living in the most remote areas of her community.  As a rider for the Pack Horse Library Initiative, Cussy braves everything from nasty weather to ill-tempered recluses to snooty, prejudiced society women to bring the joy of reading to her far-flung neighbors.  Scorned by those who think hers is not a job suitable for a lady, let alone a Blue, Cussy perseveres.  Although she's already experienced more than her fair share of violence and fear, Cussy will battle every snowstorm, every fist shook in her face, every filthy name hurled in her direction, every haint whistling through the holler, and every tumble off her horse to bring the magic of books to those who need it most ...

Sometimes you can tell just by the title of a book that it's one you're going to love.  Add in an evocative cover and an intriguing plot summary and that's it, you're a goner.  Such is the case with me and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson.  I love everything about this lush, touching novel.  The setting is so atmospheric that I could see, hear, smell, and touch the Appalachians and her people in all their glorious beauty and impoverished desperation.  Cussy, herself, is so well-drawn that I felt instantly for her, even while admiring her kindness, humility and determination.  As heartbreaking as this novel is, it tells a beautiful, touching story that has stayed with me even though it's been months since I read it.  If you love historical fiction or tales of Appalachia or books about the transformative power of reading or any combination of the three, you absolutely must pick up this book.  It might just be my favorite read of the year so far! 

(Readalikes:  I'm guessing The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes and The Last Blue by Isla Morley are similar, but I've yet to read either [although both are on my TBR mountain chain].)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

17 comments:

  1. Loved this book as much as you did! I couldn't put it down!

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    1. It's fabulous, isn't it? Glad you enjoyed it as well!

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  2. My best read of 2019! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it!

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    1. It's one of my favorites of this year so far. I loved everything about it!

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  3. I do need to read the Jojo Moyes book but this one sounds fabulous too. Maybe I need to read both...but with a gap in between

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    1. I have the Jojo Moyes book on my shelf. Just haven't gotten to it yet. It will be interesting to compare/contrast it with BOOK WOMAN.

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  4. I absolutely love the sound of this one! I mean, how can you not fall in love with a character who shares books!

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    1. It's an excellent book for a lot of reasons. The whole book/reading theme is definitely one of them! I loved seeing how people's lives changed because of the books they were given.

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  5. I have this one sitting on the floor of my room; I just wasn't sure if it was going to be a happy or sad read. (Because I can't do sad right now.) But your review has convinced me to move it up my TBR list. :)

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    1. There are definitely sad parts since this is a book about prejudice and ignorance as much as it is about books. Overall, though, it's hopeful and positive. I hope you love it when you read it!

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  6. I've heard so many good things about this book and I do intend to read it. Glad it worked so well for you, Susan. Happy belated Mother's Day!

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    1. I think you would love it! I haven't met anyone who hasn't. Definitely let me know what you think of it when you do read it.

      Happy belated Mother's Day to you as well, Kay!

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  7. I just saw this on my library's audio site and was on the fence about it but it sounds like it's definitely worth the read and the tears!

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    1. Yes, it's definitely worth the read (and the tears). It's an easy one to get into and read quickly, but I guarantee the story will stay with you long after you read it.

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  8. So glad to see you liked this one; I've heard good things about it and how it's much better than the one I read (The Giver of Stars) on the same topic.

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    1. Oh, really? I bought THE GIVER OF STARS when it came out because I've enjoyed other books by Moyes and the whole mobile library subject fascinates me, but I haven't read the book yet. I did start it and it didn't grab me enough to continue at that moment. I'll go back to it, though. It will be interesting to compare/contrast it with BOOK WOMAN.

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  9. This is one of my top books so far this year. I listened to the audiobook and loved it. You're right when you say it felt like you were there. I am not familiar with The Last Blue, but will have to check it out. Wonderful review Susan.

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