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BOOK CLUB BUNDLES

Hi, I’m Lauren. The Library will provide books for your book club. Our book club bundles include 10 copies of the same title, along with a discussion guide. Check out available bundles when visiting the Library, or fill out the form below! Patrons can reserve book club bundles up to six months in advance. Our book club bundles are stored on the second floor for the public to browse and check out. Contact us at bookclub@gpld.org or call us at 630-232-0780 if you have questions.



The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

by Kim Michele Richardson

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Great Depression

Growing up in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky during the 1930s, young Cussy Mary Carter is isolated due to her blue-tinged skin, a rare hereditary trait amongst her mostly white community. Unmarried and seeking connection, Cussy joins the Pack Horse Librarian Project, delivering books to those living in rural and impoverished areas. Readers will enjoy Cussy’s quiet determination as she makes her own way in the world, while also learning lesser-known aspects of American history.

Download Discussion Guide

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author biography

NYT and USA TODAY and L. A. TIMES bestselling author, Kim Michele Richardson resides in her home state of Kentucky. She is the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child, and a book critic for the New York Journal of Books. Her novels include Liar's Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and The Sisters of Glass Ferry. Kim Michele latest novel is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a NYT bestseller about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians of Kentucky.  - Amazon.com

More titles by this author.

reviews

Booklist

Cussy Mary Carter knows no one will want to marry her with her blue skin, a rare hereditary condition sometimes found in the mountains of Kentucky. She prefers it that way, since a married woman cannot work for the WPA, and being a Pack Horse librarian is the one light in her lonely, hardscrabble life. But her coal-miner father wants Cussy to be taken care of, which leads to a disastrous, mercifully brief marriage. Now the Widow Frazier—though she prefers what her young patrons call her, the Book Woman —is free to deliver scant reading materials to the most remote hollows of Troublesome Creek. Though Richardson's latest (after The Sisters of Glass Ferry, 2017) is essentially about the power of reading and libraries, it also explores the extreme rural poverty of 1930s Appalachia and labor unrest among coal miners. Readers will respond to quiet Cussy's steel spine as she undergoes cruel medical tests to ""cure"" her blueness, and book groups who like to explore lesser-known aspects of American history will be fascinated. -- Susan Maguire (Reviewed 4/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 15, p15)

Publisher's Weekly

This gem of a historical from Richardson (The Sisters of Glass Ferry) features an indomitable heroine navigating a community steeped in racial intolerance. In 1936, 19-year-old Cussy Mary Carter works for the New Deal–funded Pack Horse Library Project, delivering reading material to the rural people of Kentucky. It’s a way of honoring her dead mother, who loved books, and it almost makes her forget the fact that her skin is blue, a family trait that sets her apart from the white community. The personable and dedicated Cussy forges friendships through her job, including with handsome farmer Jackson Lovett, who becomes Cussy’s love interest. Cussy’s ailing coal miner father, Elijah, insists she marry, but the elderly husband he finds for her, Charlie Frazier, dies on their wedding night. Pastor Vester Frazier, a vengeful relative, blames Cussy for Charlie’s death and starts stalking her. The local doctor steps in to help, and Cussy repays Doc by letting him perform medical tests on her to learn the cause of her blue skin. A potential cure for Cussy’s blue skin and a surprise marriage proposal set in motion a final quarrel among the townspeople over segregation laws that threatens Cussy’s chance at happiness. Though the ending is abrupt and some historical information feels clumsily inserted, readers will adore the memorable Cussy and appreciate Richardson’s fine rendering of rural Kentucky life. Agent: Stacy Testa, Writers House. (May) --Staff (Reviewed 03/11/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 10, p)

Library Journal

Richardson (Liar's Bench) takes readers to 1930s Troublesome Creek, KY, where Cussy Mary Carter works as a Kentucky Pack Horse Librarian. Under Roosevelt's WPA (Works Progress Administration), the Pack Horse Librarian initiative put unmarried women to work delivering books to remote locations in an effort to boost both literacy and female employment. Cussy Mary is not only a Pack Horse Librarian, she's a Blue. She's assumed to be the last of her kind—a group of blue-skinned folks regularly shunned, persecuted, and sometimes killed by white locals. Cussy Mary's work to spread literacy through the hills meets with her family's battles against poverty and racial animus, as a doctor sets out to "cure" her of her blue skin. Will turning Cussy Mary into a white woman solve her troubles? VERDICT Based on true stories from different times (the blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the WPA's Pack Horse Librarians), this novel packs a lot of hot topics into one narrative. Perfect for book clubs. --Julie Kane (Reviewed 05/01/2019) (Library Journal, vol 144, issue 4, p86)

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