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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 13 star ratings
5 reviews
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4.7 out of 5
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    Moving!

    horror, Appalachia, prejudice, starvation, love, historical-research, historical-places-events, historical-fiction, libraries, ***** Cussy Mary Bluet is fiction. The horrors of starvation, prejudice against both blue and black skin colors, and coal mining are real. Also real is the recessant gene for methemogobinemia with the dubious studies and treatment of the 1930s, the pride and perseverance of the people of Appalachia, and the WPA Pack Horse Project librarians including the kindness of those who donated reading materials. The story itself is of one Book Woman who suffered from a misunderstood trait, the debilitating prejudices of those around her, and the soul deep sadness that comes from being helpless to improve the dire living conditions of others. Despite all, the end of this book is uplifting. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley. Thank you!
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    Historical Fiction American Depression

    Cussy Mary is the last of the Kentucky blue people, they suffered from a rare genetic disorder called Methemoglobinemia that causes their skin to have a blue tinge. The story is set in the Appalachian mountains, where poverty, sickness and hunger is a sad part of every day life. Mary is a strong person, with the love and support of her father she has been raised to be kind and considerate to others. Mary's pa is a coal miner, he has some rather old fashioned ideas about women and he made a big mistake thinking that Mary needed to be married for her own safety. Lets just say offering a small plot of land and Marys hand in marriage to a much older man, Mary's father stuffed up! The sad fact is Mary has a hard life, the local ladies in the community are mean and nasty to her. Mary only visits town when really has to as she is made to feel like she's not welcome and they're rude to her. President Roosevelt's WPA Program was established to create jobs during the depression and to help isolated people have access to books. Mountain people were extremely poor, they had no money, little education and some were suffering from the side effects from malnutrition. Cussy Mary is a pack horse librarian, she travels deep into the mountains riding on her mule, where each week she delivers worn out books, old magazines, health pamphlets and scrapbooks that she make up herself with recipes and other home making ideas. Many of the mountain people live in severe poverty, they don't like change, they can't afford to see a doctor and are very superstitious. Through her job Mary visits people who are isolated from the outside world, they're very grateful for the service she provides, they don't judge her by the colour of her skin and for the first time in her life she has friends. I really enjoyed The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek, it's a wonderful and it shows by sharing books, wisdom, kindness, hope and friendship lives can be changed. One of the best books I have read this year, I loved it and I gave it five stars.
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    Appalachian Historical Fiction

    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is a historical novel of Appalachia specifically Kentucky during the depression era. I believe this is an important book because of the historical details and research. There are so many aspects of this book that make it special to me. Kentucky is home and has been my family’s home since before the American Revolution. This book appealed to me because of the pack horse librarian and medical elements as many family members have been in education and the medical field. I first heard of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky from my mother and the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Hindman Settlement School of Troublesome Creek still exists today as an NSDAR approved and supported school. It has been exciting to read and learn more about the people of this area. I recommend all of Ms. Richardson’s books but this one is exceptional and opened my eyes to new historical facts about Kentucky. I hope in the future that there may be a new historical book from this author about the frontier nurses of Kentucky. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this excellent book.
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    Beautifully evocative.

    A haunting tale based in Appalachia. Mary Cuss is a traveling librarian - delivering books to the extremely poor and isolated neighbors. Her ‘blue’ skin condition was a burden bringing bias and hurt . How she overcome all to find acceptance and love. This book is rich in research with a poignant , lyrical lilt. Deeply moving.
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    Wonderful tale told very well

    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is an excellent historical novel, set in the hills of Kentucky. The setting, the language, the personalities are all evocative of these isolated communities in the mid-1930s, the hardships of the depression and the closing of several coal mines, and the works of the WPA. Cussy Mary Carter is 19 years old in 1936, and a new member of the WPA Pack Horse Librarians. She is one of the gentle Blues, those blue-skinned children of two parents carrying the very rare recessive gene for methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder that limits the uptake of oxygen into red blood cells and results in brown colored blood and blue coloration to the skin. There were actually several families of Blues in this area of Kentucky in this time frame. (See the Fugates family information at Wikipedia.org.) Cussie, called Bluet by everyone but family, is briefly married to an abusive member of the influential and wide-spread Frazier family, a match approved by her father because he feared his black lung would take him and she would be left unprotected, Cussy is freed when Charlie Frazier's heart attack ends his latest abuse. Her inheritance is a mule named Junia who also fears men, and a return to her much loved WPA job lost to her on her marriage. Cussie loves her job, her patrons, her books. She is a strong advocate of education and does her best to spread reading across her hills. But will she ever find happiness? All it would take to make her happy would be a family of her own, a man who could see past the blue of her skin into the warmth of her heart. But that would be impossible, with the built-in prejudice in the Appalachian community that includes Troublesome, Kentucky. I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Michele Richardson, and Sourcebooks Landmark. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this book of my own volition, and this review is my honest opinion of this work.
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