The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Cussy Mary Carter, 19, is a pack horse librarian in the hills of eastern Kentucky in 1936. She is known as Book Woman or Bluet. Cussy is one of the last of the blue-skinned Fugates, and is treated as a colored person. Despite her coloring, her coal miner father wants to see Cussy married and provided for. Cussy and her mule deliver books, magazines, scrapbooks, and newspapers, along with letters and occasionally food to the isolated mountain folk on her route. Hope and heartbreak mingle here, and the story has some very dark scenes. The power of reading to inform, comfort, and enlighten is emphasized in this memorable and moving novel. Very well researched by the author, a Kentuckian, this book is a good choice for book groups interested in Depression-era America. I am looking forward to reading more about the pack horse librarians in The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes, to be published this October.