Honey Lovett is the reluctant heroine of the follow-up to The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek, one of the best books produced last year. This year’s account revisits the rugged, danger-filled, homey Kentucky mountains. Junia the mule once more plays a starring role.
THE BOOK WOMAN’S DAUGHTER is left a virtual orphan when her parents are arrested for a supposed mixed-marriage offence, in the hidebound 1950s. Cussy Mary’s inherited blood condition gives her bluish skin. Honey has an easier time of it, as only her hands and feet turn blue under stress. Honey has not committed any crime but being under age. At sixteen she is old enough to marry but too young to live alone, in the classic paradox applied to women and children when majority meant twenty-one. Gaining temporary shelter with a wise elderly relative, Honey starts looking for work so she can support herself and prove her independence.
The author Kim Michele Richardson previously concentrated on the tremendous achievements of the 1930s Kentucky mountains library outreach programme, through the Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian. This time she treads familiar ground but adds the early women workers in new fields.
Appalachia needs fire-watchers and the splendid character of Pearl Grant arrives in town, keen to live alone in the forest and continue her science work as she watches for fires. Robbie Hardin, a local man, resents not getting the job. His friend Perry Gillis sympathises, and orders the new librarian Honey to stay away from his long-suffering wife Guylia Gillis and their little boy. The law is on the side of the husband. However, Miss Eula Foster, director of the library, is keen to get books into as many hands as possible. Bonnie Powell, a miner, demonstrates that the work which killed her husband can make her an honest living, to the chagrin and ire of many men. We also meet a nurse whose status gives her authority, and kindly neighbouring men and women who want only the best for Honey Lovett, because she is one of them.
I read THE BOOK WOMAN’S DAUGHTER over several sessions, drawing out the read, reluctant to leave the storm-clad mountains, the turbulent and claustrophobic town, the smell of real books. Honey and Junia make a formidable team, especially when so many friends are on their side. Enjoy the classic reading matter, the peach leather strips, and home-baked oatcakes for the mule.
The new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek!
Bestselling historical fiction author Kim Michele Richardson is back with the perfect book club read following Honey Lovett, the daughter of the beloved Troublesome book woman, who must fight for her own independence with the help of the women who guide her and the books that set her free.
In the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey and her family have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother and father are imprisoned, Honey realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good.
Picking up her mother's old packhorse library route, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. Honey is looking to prove that she doesn't need anyone telling her how to survive. But the route can be treacherous, and some folks aren't as keen to let a woman pave her own way.
If Honey wants to bring the freedom books provide to the families who need it most, she's going to have to fight for her place, and along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills and hollers can make all the difference in the world.