The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Title: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Author: Kim Michele Richardson
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: May 2019
Format: Hardcover
Length: 308 pages

I didn’t know much about the novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, before I began reading it. A coworker of mine mentioned it was a good read and then I read a few good reviews. I didn’t know the book was based on true events that occurred in the Appalachian mountains during the Great Depression. Eleanor Roosevelt started the Pack Horse Library Project (part of the New Deal) in the 1930’s to provide reading material to citizens living in the Appalachian mountains in Kentucky. Librarians would travel at least twice a month to deliver reading materials donated by large cities in the U.S. By 1936, librarians were delivering to at least 50,000 families and over 100 schools. The Pack Horse project ended in 1943 due to the end of the Works Progress Administration, however, in 1946 motorized bookmobiles began making the journey to deliver reading materials to remote locations.

Goodman-Paxton Photo Collection, Kentucky Digital Library

(Information found at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/horse-riding-librarians-were-great-depression-bookmobiles-180963786/ ) For additional information, click here to listen to an interview done by NPR where they ask a prior Pack Horse Librarian, Mary Ruth Dieter, questions about her experience.

Kim Michele Richardson was born and resides in Kentucky. She researched information about the Pack Horse Librarians and residents of the Appalachian mountains while writing the novel. She discovered that there was a population of residents near Ball Creek and Troublesome Creek that had blue skin. Martin Fugate, a French orphan, came to Kentucky to claim land and married a local resident. They had 7 children, 4 of whom were blue. Neither Martin nor his wife were blue, but both happened to carry the same blue-blood recessive gene. Richardson writes “Congenital methemoglobinemia is due to an enzyme deficiency, leading to higher-than-normal levels of methemoglobin in the blood-a form of hemoglobin…”(The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, p. 288). The Fugate family faced discrimination due to their skin color, which Richardson addresses in the novel as the main character, Cussy Mary Carter, is a Fugate.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a historical fiction novel that does a great job in telling the history of the Pack Horse Librarian project. Cussy Mary Carter, a Pack Horse Librarian, faces many dangers on her route-wild animals, dangerous men and unpredictable weather to name a few. She loves her job and is willing to take the risk. Her father worries about her and her future once he passes away. Cussy tells her father she is fine and can take care of herself. She doesn’t believe she will ever marry as she is a Fugate and has spent most of her life being discriminated against.

The novel can move slow at times, but overall was a really good read. I enjoyed learning about the Pack Horse Librarians and about the hardships people faced living in the Appalachian mountains. I recommend Book Woman of Troublesome Creek to readers that enjoy historical fiction.

Five out of five bookworms-Great read!

About the author…

From the Goodreads site:

Kim Michele Richardson lives in Kentucky and resides part-time in Western North Carolina. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, building houses, and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, partnering with the U.S. Navy globally to bring awareness and education to the prevention of domestic violence. 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 currently finished her fourth novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians. Coming Spring, 2019. Click here to visit the author’s website.

Across the Pond

Hi readers! I hope your holidays were fabulous. I spent mine with family, friends, good food, received many nice gifts and of course, made time for reading. This year my goal as a reader is to actually start and FINISH a series. If you’ve been on my blog before, you know how bad I am at this. We will see how this goes. I’ve chosen the Outlander series and have completed reading the first book. New Year’s goals are usually something I break, but this year I am determined to follow several of mine through. I will let you know at the end of the year how I did.

I have to brag on my Doxie for a minute. I spend so much time playing and walking with her. She’s only six months so she doesn’t sit still enough to be a reading buddy yet. I’ve wanted a tiny dog my whole life to take care of so the fact I have one now is just bliss. How can you say no to this innocent face???? You just can’t.

I subscribed to PBS Masterpiece, Lifetime Movie Club and BritBox on Amazon Prime over the break. Here is what I have found so far that I recommend…

Sense and Sensibility by the BBC is just SO GOOD. It was my favorite series that I watched over the holidays. The acting was superb. The series stars Hattie Morahan, Charity Wakefield, and Dan Stevens.

VERA is about a witty British detective created by author Ann Cleeves. A few seasons are available through BritBox. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, you will love VERA.

Cranford is a Masterpiece drama about two spinster sisters and their young female houseguest living in a small England town. The series stars Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins.

The Durells in Corfu is a comedy series about a young widow who moves her family from England to the Greek island of Corfu. The series is based on memoirs written by Gerald Durrell.

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. This classic is a must.

I read three books over the holidays and am going to write about two today that are popular.

Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Dell
Date: 1992
Format: Paperback
Length: 850 pages

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander is a perfect read for those that love history, fantasy and romance. It is a perfect escape read. I love the characters of Claire Randall and James Fraser. It is obvious to me as a reader that Gabaldon spent hours studying Scottish history. There is so much detail in her novel. The romance scenes were beautiful without being too cheesy and overdone. I loved the bravery of Claire’s character. Picture of Outlander’s James Fraser below because it’s Monday. You’re welcome.



About the Author

From the author’s website:
Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, #1 NYT-bestselling OUTLANDER novels, described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting ‘Scrooge McDuck’ comics.”

Dr. Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and a Ph.D. in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology.

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/

Title: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: Thomas Egerton
Publication Date: 1811
Format: Hardcover

Jane Austen’s classic, Sense and Sensibility, is about two sisters who experience the perils of love-heartbreak, betrayal, and abandonment. As much heartbreak and anguish is to be found, the story ends on a happy note which is the trademark all Austen fans love.

About the Author

Jane Austen is the beloved English novelist that wrote Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma. Her work is best known for satire and social commentary of 19th century England.

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

I was a dreamer growing up as a little girl. I dreamed not only of Prince Charming, but of living in NYC working for a glamour magazine. True story. I wanted to be in a big city, surrounded by lots of people, doing what I love and raise a family. I never did make my dream of living in NYC and working for a glamour magazine. Our dreams may be far fetched, but dreaming is what makes life worth living sometimes.

I believe as adults we still dream. There are still sights to see and goals we want to accomplish. Our dreaming curbs as we grow older. Life seems to bring its fair share of disappointments and heartache. We wonder if our dreams are worth pursuing, if we still dare to dream at all. Our dreaming may change over time. We grow to adulthood, face everyday realities and want different things out of life. Doors close to some of our dreams which means that those particular dreams weren’t meant to be. I have faced my share of heartache, but deep inside is still the little girl that loves to dream.

I happened by chance to read a few books based on dreams this week which got me to thinking about dreams of mine that have become real. I’m fortunate in this life to have had several come true. I wanted to be married, as most young girls do. I am married to the love of my life. He is my ride or die. Just yesterday we were in the gym meeting with a trainer and my husband mentioned that I am his motivator for continuing to workout. It was a small moment, but a sweet one. I always wanted a daughter since I was little girl myself. She’s here and and she’s my mini-me. We go shopping, get manis, brunch, hang out, and sometimes drive each other crazy, but I wouldn’t change a second of it. I love reading and work at a job where I’m surrounded by books all day. Life is truly sweet. Did I mention that I have two of the cutest nephews? They have a million aunts who spoil them like crazy and always brag about how great they are. They make life a little sweeter.

What are some of your dreams and goals? What closed doors have you faced that changed how you dream? I believe our heartaches not only make us stronger, but guide us towards the life we were meant to live.

Title: Park Avenue Summer
Author: Renee Rosen
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 30, 3019
Format:Paperback
Length: 368 pages

Park Summer Avenue is based on real life Helen Gurley Brown, senior editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for over 30 years. She changed how single women saw their life in the 1960’s and gave them courage to pursue their dreams. Alice Weiss, the novel’s fictitious main character, lands the job of being Brown’s assistant due to connections, all though her dream job is to become a photographer. Park Avenue Summer is an encouragement to women that our thoughts and ideas matter. If you love The Devil Wears Prada, you will love this new read by Renee Rosen. Purchase here.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

From the author’s website:
Renee Rosen is the bestselling author of historical fiction. Her novels include Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants and Dollface as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. Her most recent novel is Park Avenue Summer (April 30, 2019 from Penguin Random House/Berkley).Renee is a native of Akron, Ohio and a graduate of The American University in Washington DC.  She now lives in Chicago where she is at work on a new novel, The Social Graces, a story about Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt vying for control of New York society during the Gilded Age. (Coming in 2020 from Penguin Random House/Berkley). Read more about Renee Rosen here.

Title: She Dreams: Live the Life You Were Created For
Author: Tiffany Bluhm
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 224 pages

Tiffany Bluhm encourages women to explore their dreams and live the life they were called to. God creates in each woman’s heart desires that long to be fulfilled. How do we make those dreams a reality? What happens when our dreams are not fulfilled? Bluhm studies the life of Moses and how God called him to lead the Israelites out of slavery. Maybe our dreams may not look like what we originally intended, but God has a purpose for each one of us that will lead to fulfillment if we pursue after him. Purchase the book here. Purchase the Bible study guide here.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

From the author’s website:

Tiffany Bluhm, author of She Dreams and Never Alone, is a speaker, writer, and podcast co-host of Why Tho. Tiffany speaks regularly at conferences and events, and her work has been featured on outlets such as TODAY Parents, YouVersion Bible app, the Hallmark Channel, ScaryMommy.com and The Jenny McCarthy Show. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and two sons. To find out more, visit 
www.tiffanybluhm.com

Title: It’s a Love Story
Author: Lincee Ray
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 208 pages

Most young women dream of love. We want the Cinderella story. We love being in love and having someone to love. Lincee Ray writes a humorous memoir of all the loves of her life, including pets, boyfriends, friends and family and all the emotions that come with it. God gave the author new dreams and a new life after a heartbreaking divorce. It’s a Love Story is an encouragement to women everywhere to never give up on love and finding your calling. Purchase here.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

From the author’s website:

I began blogging accidentally when I wrote a recap for the beloved show everyone loves to hate — The Bachelor. What began as a place for closeted fans to commune and discuss the wonder that is Our Host Chris Harrison slowly morphed into a place where I share stories about everyday life.
One day, my Bachelor recap landed on the desk of an editor at Entertainment Weekly. That sweet woman quickly deduced that I am a pop culture weirdo who probably watches all of the teenybopper shows on The CW. She was right. When I’m not watching TV for a living, you can probably find me speaking to various groups of women, including business and church groups. If all else fails, look for me in a darkened movie theater or at a live music venue. To find our more, visit
http://www.ihategreenbeans.com/

Author Spotlight: Marie Benedict

I try to read books from several different genres, including non-fiction, which I will have several reviews of coming this summer. I do have favorite authors and will try to read all of their works in the order they are published. One of my favorites is historical fiction writer Marie Benedict. Her stories portray women as having played a key role in history during a time when women were not allowed fair access to education. Although her stories are fabricated to a degree, they still give the reader an idea of what women endured during that time. Click here to visit the Marie Benedict’s website.

A quirk I have when it comes to reading is that I occasionally do research on why the author wrote the book before I begin reading it. I feel like if I don’t, then I’m not connecting with the author and fully understanding why the book was written.

Title: The Other Einstein
Author: Marie Benedict
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 336

A marriage of geniuses: In a time when most twenty-year-old women were wives, or trying to be, Mileva Maric was studying physics at an elite university in Zurich. Her rise from the relative backwater of misogynistic Serbia to all-male university classrooms in Switzerland was nothing short of meteoric. Her male peers could only try to keep up with her clever calculations. For Mileva, math was an easier path than marriage. Then, fellow student Albert Einstein took an interest in her and the world turned sideways. Their life together was a partnership of heart and mind. But could there be room for more than one genius in a marriage?

The other Einstein: Mileva Maric was a fascinating, brilliant physicist in her own right. She was, in fact, the other Einstein. In the world of physics, there’s much debate over the role she played in forming the theory of special relativity, one of her husband’s greatest works. Was she simply a sounding board, computing the complex mathematical equations? Or did she contribute something more?

Review from Amazon.

My Thoughts
I read this book in one day two years ago. I absolutely loved it and it’s on my Goodreads’ favorites list. Mileva Maric is one of my favorite characters in literature due to her ability to withstand pressure from males to not further her research and education. Einstein was not an easy man to live with, but Maric had the ability to withhold her own.

There is some controversy over the book, which you can read about in an article published by Notre Dame Magazine and written by Stacy Nyikos. No proof is available that Maric did contribute to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Benedict is suggesting that Maric did play a role and did not receive credit due to women’s limitations in academia at the time.

Click here to purchase The Other Einstein.

Title: Carnegie’s Maid
Author: Marie Benedict
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 352

In the age of the Industrial Revolution, Clara Kelley makes the journey from Ireland to America in hopes of creating a new life to support her poor Irish family. When she lands, the unexpected happens. A gentleman working for Mrs. Seeley, owner of a servants’ registry in Pittsburgh, confuses her with another Clara Kelley traveling second class on the ship. Realizing that the Clara Kelley expected did not make the journey successfully, Kelley decides to take the job of being Mrs. Carnegie’s maid. She has no experience being a lady’s maid as the real Clara Kelley does and is also Catholic which is forbidden in the Carnegie household, but keeps up the ruse in order to provide financially. Mrs. Carnegie comes fully to rely on Kelley and earns her full trust. Andrew Carnegie falls in love with Kelley’s grace, beauty and intelligence. Kelley’s ideas will forever change Carnegie’s ideas of business and philanthropy.

My Thoughts
I was not sure at first if I would enjoy Carnegie’s Maid as much as The Other Einstein, but by the end I loved this novel just as much. Kelley and Carnegie’s relationship is forbidden and must be kept secret, but does not stop them from having numerous discussions on how to help immigrants succeed in America. Kelley changes him from a cold businessman to one of the most well known philanthropists. The change in Carnegie is what makes this novel a worthy read.

Benedict’s Inspiration

Benedict’s ancestors were Irish immigrants just like Clara Kelley and used one of the libraries Carnegie founded to educate themselves. The self taught immigrants in her family worked as steel and mill workers. Due to the benefit of having access to free resources, they slowly became families working as doctors, lawyers and professors. Benedict’s story is supported by the idea that some historians have of a personal relationship changing Carnegie.

Further Reading
http://www.greermacallister.com/blog/2018/2/1/98md23vzev588kakjr4allqaz0b4b0

Click here to purchase Carnegie’s Maid.

Title: The Only Woman in the Room
Author: Marie Benedict
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 272
Hedy Lamarr, a beauty icon, fled Austria when her husband, one of the wealthiest men in Austria, began supporting Hitler’s regime by providing ammunition. Lamarr learned the German secrets, including the weakness of German torpedoes, while attending dinners with her husband and would read science books after he retired to bed. She meets Louis Mayer in London and soon begins her acting career in Hollywood. She was not only a great beauty and actress, but a brilliant inventor who used the knowledge gained about German torpedoes to try to undermine the Third Reich. The novel is based on true events.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed reading about Hedy Lamarr’s attempt to save many lives during World War II. She was definitely a woman before her time in her amount of independence and knowledge. Her giving heart and nature shows in the novel.

Read more about Maurice Benedict’s inspiration for the novel here.

Click here to purchase The Only Woman in the Room.