Kim Michelle Richardson, 2019, historical fiction, 320 pages
Cussy Mary Martin’s father wants to see her married and settled before he leaves her an orphan. He has miner’s lung and doesn’t expect to live long. But Cussy has a rare genetic disorder that makes her skin blue, and most of the community think she isn’t fit to be married. Even Cussy doesn’t like the idea. She has a job she loves with the pack horse librarians, taking books to folks deep in the hills who don’t have access to a library. But it’s dangerous work for a woman alone. Will Cussy be able to keep her job and take care of herself?
I really enjoyed this book. I learned the blue people in Kentucky were real and how they were treated. This group of people are nearly forgotten by historians. The Pack Horse Librarians was also a real organization that seems in this day and age.
I didn’t enjoy the way her father, who loved her, put marriage above everything else. But maybe that was the mindset of people in those days. Since it is a novel, I thought the ending could have been a bit happier, too. Yet these facts made the story more historically accurate.
There is threat of violence throughout. One person took his life.
I especially appreciated the loving presentation of a forgotten group of people. Cussy is a strong female character who treated others with kindness even though they did not treat her kindly. This book kept me turning the pages to find out what Cussy did with the life she’d been given. I enjoyed the discussion at book club after reading this book with friends, too.
If you like this book, you might also like to read the sequel, The Book Woman’s Daughter.