The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Author: Kim Michele Richardson;
Genre: Historical Novel;
Narrator: Katie Schorr;
Publisher: Blackstone Audio (2019);
Rating: (4 / 5).
Set in 1930s Kentucky, this was a fascinating story about a young woman who delivers books to rural homes. She rides a mule as she works for the Kentucky Pack Horse library service, a short-lived, but important literary outreach to the isolated poor. The people of the hills are starving, both in body and soul, and she considers it a privilege to provide them with books and magazines to feed their intellect.
Cussie Mary is one of the rare blue-skinned people of that area of the country. She’s considered a “colored” and is treated as bad—or worse than—blacks. Themes include physical abuse, black lung disease, and labor struggles, but also redemption, forgiveness, and compassion. And love of books and reading, of course.
It’s not a fun read with those dark topics, but the novel is written wonderfully. The description is outstanding, and I felt the cold wind and smelled the wood smoke. There wasn’t a time during the story that it dragged, which is unusual for a novel this long (9.5 hours of the audiobook and 320 pages in the paperback). The characters are all unique and interesting, too.
The narration by Schorr is first-rate; her accents sounded authentic and her pacing was excellent. This is a perfect example of why listening to a book, versus reading text, is so valuable and enjoyable.