The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michelle Richardson - 2022 - 364 pages- a sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.
I, along with much of the book blog world, loved The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.
Set in the 1930s up to 1941 in the very impoverished Appalachian region of Kentucky, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek follows Cussy Mary, a packhorse librarian bringing books, newspapers and magazines to the often struggling to feed their families people of Troublesome Creek. Through the WPA President Roosevelt the Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project brought books and employment to mostly women riding often long difficult routes, Cussy rides a mule you will grow to love.
The Book Woman’s Daughter begins in 1953.
Like her mother, Honey suffers from a genetic disease that can make her skin appear blue. Many look with scorn on her as a “colored person” or a witch. It was illegal for whites and “colored persons” in Kentucky in the 1940s to marry. When we meet the Book Woman’s daughter, at about age 14 her parents are in prison for an illegal marriage of a white and a blue, as Honey and her mother, were called. Honey at 16 becomes a Book Woman, bringing material to people in very rural Kentucky on our favorite mule.
As she travels she becomes very good friends with a woman fire ranger, a bit older than Honey, in a job normally held by men. Honey is in danger of being sent to a home for orphans which is pretty much a prison until she is 18. An older lady on her route is appointed by the court as her guardian saving her from this.
The savagery of life in the coal mines is made very real. We see the brutal way the few women working the mines are treated. Contrasted with this is the kindness of others. As in The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, Richardson marvelously describes the natural beauty of Kentucky.
The Book Woman’s Daughter is a master work, historical fiction at a very high level. You should read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek first if possible.
I found this book very moving. It made me feel grateful to the near endless supply of books available to me and our three daughters.
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. Her novels include Liar’s Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field. The Sisters of Glass Ferry and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Kim Michele latest novel out May 3.2022 is The Book Woman's Daughter, both a standalone and sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.
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