Richardson focuses her historical fiction on Kentucky again, picking up the story of the rural book delivery, Blue People, friendship, hardship, tragedy, and triumph that she first explored in The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.
The Book Woman's Daughter is Kim Michele Richardson's stand-alone sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a book I listened to as an audiobook and loved.
The story picks up with teenage Honey, Cussy's daughter, while Cussy and her husband are suffering persecution--leaving Honey on her own.
Richardson writes about strong Kentuckians and their environment, and in The Book Woman's Daughter she delves back into the rural "book lady" route as well as remote nurses, moonshiners, fire-spotters, and other mountain folk characters who help or harm Honey as she fights for independence in a time when many don't think a young woman should make her own decisions.
Multiple members of the community pitch in with support and supplies to meet Honey's needs and stand by her as her situation changes and her status becomes more tenuous. Others seek to take advantage of Honey's vulnerable, isolated position.
The characters who are "bad" are truly evil here, without gray areas or complex motivations to add layers to their terrible actions. The story made me feel fairly confident that justice would be served in these matters--but some of these villains' (sometimes puzzlingly dark) efforts can't be undone.
I didn't connect to the characters the way I did while following Cussy through her delivery route in The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek--or while she investigated her blue color, its causes, and her feelings about either changing her color to avoid conflict and make others more comfortable, or being her natural self regardless of others' opinions (with misogynist laws backing up frightening power).
The book's biggest strengths for me were the vivid setting and Richardson's powerful exploration of women's limitations and struggles to gain autonomy.
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?
Click here for my review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.