Audiobook Mini-Review — The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

14 Jan

I had heard so much about The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, that I thought I would give it a try on my daily walks. The subject matter was very interesting — the WPA packhorse librarians and the blue people of Kentucky — as was the description of the time and place. Main characters were intriguing as well. But I am still not sure how I feel about this book. Check out my review below.


The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything — everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

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.

You can visit her websites and learn more at:


My Impressions:

I had heard a lot of buzz about The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek on social media, so I decided to download the audiobook to accompany my morning walks. While I was familiar with the WPA packhorse librarian program that serviced mountainous Kentucky during the Depression (I read the excellent Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin), I was unfamiliar with the blue people of Kentucky. Either of those subjects would have made an interesting novel, but the combination was hard to resist. Main character Cussy Mary is determined to bring hope and education to the people on her route. While they are open and welcoming for the most part, the majority of the community in which Cussy lives has long held prejudices, superstitions, and hostility towards Cussy’s family. The theme of prejudicial treatment of those deemed other was very interesting. But Cussy’s life is very hard and she endures a lot of abuse and trauma. That was hard to read, or in my case, listen to. There is some hope shared in the novel, but it comes with a big cost. The narration is excellent, and Cussy’s first person voice rings true.

For those readers who prefer Christian fiction, this book is probably not for you. Wonderland Creek is a better option to explore the packhorse librarian program. However, if you don’t mind some adult language and situations, and an especially despicable preacher, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek might be a good place to find out more about the program and the life and times of a little known place and people.

Audience: adults.

(I downloaded the audiobook from Audible — it was included in my subscription. All opinion expressed are mine alone.)


2 Responses to “Audiobook Mini-Review — The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”

  1. Gretchen January 14, 2021 at 8:45 pm #

    I have also heard so much about this books. Mixed reviews. Some love it and others not so much. I have not read it yet. Your review was helpful. Thanks!

    • rbclibrary January 14, 2021 at 9:08 pm #

      Thanks! I’m glad.

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