The German Client: A Bacci Pagano Investigation #6 by Bruno Morchio – a #BookReview – International Mystery & Crime

Bestselling Italian author Bruno Morchio releases his debut for English readers. 

Book Blurb:

The German ClientPrivate investigator Bacci Pagano can’t resist taking the bait when his new client dangles a check with too many zeros. He should have known that where there’s bait, there’s always a hook. 

In a hospital corridor, private investigator Bacci Pagano is keeping watch over Jasmìne Kilamba. If she lives, her testimony will shatter a  notorious human trafficking ring. Seemingly out of nowhere, he is approached by an elderly German named Kurt Hessen who is searching for his Italian half-brother. Despite his better judgment, Pagano accepts the job.  So many things, good and evil, happened when the Nazis occupied Genoa in 1944, what did it matter now? But it matters very much to someone and Pagano finds himself plunged into a world of old secrets and new lies in this wartime thriller where the bill for the sins of the past has come due . . . with interest. 

Originally published in Italian as Rossoamaro, The German Client elegantly intertwines a wartime thriller about Nazi-occupied Genoa with the gritty realism of Pagano’s current investigation in what La Repubblica called “a masterful tale.”

Nominated for a National Book Award, The German Client spent five weeks on the Corriere della Sera best seller list and won the Azzeccagarbugli Prize for Best Mystery. 

His Review:

A WWII mystery wrapped up in a modern-day saga. Italy is in the latter days of the war and has been demoted from a German Ally to an occupied country with the Germans refusing to withdraw. Italy and its’ people are forced to assist the Third Reich in any way they can. The characters are well developed and the collaborators are feared and hated by the average populace. Check-points are manned with German military who have very itchy trigger fingers.

The German client by Bruno MarchioKurt Hessen is a late war baby who is suffering from a terminal disease. He is looking for a brother he did not know he had. Detective Pagano is hired by Kurt to find this long-lost brother. Apparently, there is a sizable family inheritance that should go to the only surviving son of Mr. Hessen. Should the brother not be found, the money will go back to the state.

The author skillfully weaves the story through two time periods. It is masterfully done and I found myself appreciating the drama between a young Italian girl and an older German officer. Weaving the nearly 65 year split between the end of the war and current day adds to the mystery. The topper is the fact that the last name of the young girl is not known to the detective. Detective Pagano refuses the assignment outright but the dying man is insistent. He grudgingly takes on the task.

A real eye-opener is the continued mistrust of the protagonists and the former members of the resistance. In 1944 the war for Italy was coming to an end. The Germans were not going to retreat quietly. Secrets of the resistance and the partisans are raw wounds that carry forth to this day. Because of the animosity there is no real assistance from the population to help solve the mystery. Every bit of information is dragged out from those that remember. Many simply refuse to discuss the case or the time period.

The ending is a surprise that I did not see coming! The flow of the story reminds me of a taffy pull. Just when you think you have an inkling of an outcome the author skillfully changes direction. The ending is totally unexpected. The destruction of cities and industries by the Allied bombing made me sympathetic to the plight of the Italians.

CE WilliamsThe only quibble I had was the continuous use of places existing during WWII with no map or way to identify the locality.  I suggest that anyone with a desire to learn history and feel the pain of war on the civilian population read this book. It is emotive and you will not be disappointed. Thanks to Chiara from Kazabo Publishing for my complementary copy. These are my honest and unbiased opinions. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery & Crime, War Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Kazabo Publishing

  • ASIN : B082LZL7WG

Print Length: 204 pages
Publication Date: February 17, 2020
Source: Publisher request
Title Links: The German Client [Amazon]

Also find the book at these locations:

Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Bruno Marchio - authorThe Author: Bacci Pagano, “the noir detective with the heart of gold,” is Bruno’s signature creation. Bacci is an Italian institution. Featured in over 15 novels, Vanity Fair called Pagano, “one of Italy’s most beloved characters.” In the words of one major Italian newspaper, “Bacci Pagano is a fixture in the Italian imagination. One grows fond of Bacci. After reading a few of these novels, you find you can no longer do without him.”

Bruno Morchio lives in Genoa, Italy, where he worked as a psychologist. He has won two literary prizes for the mystery genre, the Azzeccagarbugli and the Lomellina in Giallo Prizes, and was a finalist for the Bancarella, the Scerbanenco and the Romiti Prizes.

FACEBOOKhttps://www.facebook.com/bruno.morchio

AUTHOR WEBSITEwww.brunomorchio.com

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Ninth Passage by Dale O Cloninger – Book Blitz for RABT Book Tours and PR #historicalfiction

I am delighted to present to you today a book blitz for The Ninth Passage by Dale O Cloninger for RABT Book Tours and PR.

 

Historical Fiction

Publisher: Newman Springs Publishing

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

Alec Driver, a WWII veteran earns an advanced degree in music from a
prestigious university. At age thirty-seven with glowing recommendations in
hand, he secures the post of choir teacher at a small town high school on
Florida’s west coast. Soon thereafter he falls in love with Tracy Ashbury a
bright, talented and attractive student in his choir. Community outrage
aroused by his courtship demands his dismissal prompting certain influential
citizens to affect Alec’s rescue. National recognition for the choir’s
unprecedented performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony vindicates Alec’s
supporters or so it seems…
 

About the Author

Dale O. Cloninger is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the School of
Business at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The Ninth Passage is a
fictional account of a series of actual events that transpired from
1953-1962 in his native Clearwater, Florida. The Ninth Passage is his third
book and second novel.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Promo Link

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

iBooks

IndieBound

 

RABT Book Tours & PR
©2020

The Pearl of York, Treason and Plot by Tony Morgan – a #BookReview – #HistoricalFiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

The Pearl of York by Tony MorganThe gripping new historical novel set in atmospheric Tudor York.
Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Highly Recommended award – “A heartbreaking book that grabs you from the first page and does not let you go until the last full-stop. I cannot praise this book enough. It was absolutely brilliant from beginning to end. This is an example of Historical Fiction at its most exquisite.”

When Margaret Clitherow is arrested for illegally harbouring Catholic priests, her friends, led by a youthful Guy Fawkes, face a race against time to save her from the gallows. As events unfold, their lives, and our history, change forever.

What events could persuade a happily married woman to become a martyr or transform a young man into a terrorist?

My Thoughts

Guy Fawkes didn’t set out to be an explosive expert, nor Mistress Margaret Clitherow a martyr. Nor did either begin life as a Catholic, but life, experience, and events have a way of unfolding an inexorable path down which we seem to be drawn. This storyline doesn’t focus on Guy Fawkes and his later exploits that eventually got him caught but it is while he is being tortured that he reverts to the narration of his life to divert himself from the pain to the path that diverged with Mistress Clitherow.

In Tudor York, England is in the midst of a major change of reigning churches and seeing a dissolution from the Roman Catholic Church and the Papists. It has now become a treasonable offense to remain Catholic and suddenly those who practice the “old religion” must do so in privacy, careful not to reveal their true allegiance. AND, anyone caught harboring a priest or the religious were quickly brought up on the same stiff penalties as those caught performing Mass.

In a well-researched and plotted account of the story of St. Margaret Clitherow, the author weaves a plausible account of young Guy being expelled from school for fighting with the town bully and the discovery of his mother sneaking out to Mass held in a deeply secreted space under and behind the residence of Margaret Clitherow. She has a reputation for kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity. Her husband is the neighborhood butcher, a Protestant, and elevated in social standing. But one night, after Guy accompanies his mother to Mass, the house is raided and one of the two priests is caught. Not long after, Mistress Clitherow is also arrested.

The trial being a sham, not difficult to imagine she’ll be sentenced to death. The form of her punishment, however, is said to be shaped by how she’ll plea. And she does not. Will not. She is caught between a rock and a hard place. Anything she admits to would only trickle down and cause untold suffering to not only her family but many others as well. In addition, she will not denounce her Catholic faith, revert to the Church of England. She appears to have no equitable way to save her own life and resolutely resigns herself to a death she didn’t realize would be quite such a horrendous, hideous, extremely torturous way to die. Still, she has no real choice. It seems beyond reason that humans could devise such a brutal execution.

The author has done a tremendous job of bringing a stinging history to light and creating a plausible explanation for her sacrifice as well as the lasting effects her death and the later death of Guy’s own family has on the course his life will take. Fawkes’s life left an indelible mark in the history of England as well.

If I had any quibbles, it was the subtle changes of Guy’s retrospective to his current circumstances on the rack. Utterly engaging tale of suspicion, betrayal, brutality, survival, and faith. Deeply emotional and sympathetic characters, barbaric instruments, descriptions of Tudor streets vibrant with the sounds and fetid smells of crowded city life. Thoroughly entertaining, captivating prose.

“Abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise.”

“Mistress Clitherow…she’s a pearl inside this monstrous oyster.”

We received this digital download from the author in the expectation of a review and these are our own opinions. Wholly recommended.

His Thoughts

The Pearl of York by Tony MorganThis author opened my eyes to the reason for western migration to the Americas in the 17th century. The Reformation period developed large schisms within the European countries. The Church of England was replacing the Roman Catholic Church and it became a treasonable offense to remain Catholic. Trials were held throughout Great Britain for those who practiced the old faith or harbored priests. Priests that did not renounce their faith were subjected to terrible pain and ultimately killed.

Mistress Margaret Clitherow is one of these unfortunates. She resided in York and was held in great esteem by the local populace. However, she was caught attending clandestine Catholic masses. It would have been easy to save her own life, simply renounce her faith and embrace the Protestant Church of England. For a staunch catholic this would mean saving her life but going to hell. She is a young and affable lady caught in a martyr’s quandary. She will not give up her faith.

The main character, young Guy Fawkes, is determined to save her. He and a local priest as well as a Protestant minister set out to accomplish that task. The fervor within the area is to trap and bring to justice those who have not renounced their faith.

Some of the methods for punishing the holdouts are particularly gruesome.

Priests who are caught were usually hung, drawn and quartered. The spectacle was available for the entertainment of the population. Trying to rescue those who practiced the faith was also a treasonable event.

This book is well written and mesmerizing in the telling. I wondered how Martin Luther and the others who began the Reformation must have felt. The tithes received by the church would be kept in the countries who altered their faith. The faithful paid the ultimate price for the changes to the faith and the dissolution of the Roman Catholic faith in the various countries. CE Williams

I highly recommend this book to those who cherish their faith and embrace the sacrifice made by those who suffered the ultimate for their beliefs. This author captures the sentiment of the period in the telling. 5 stars CE Williams

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller
ASIN: B0852P7RPV
Print Length: 237 pages
Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request
Title Link(s): The Pearl of York [Amazon]

Tony Morgan - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Tony Morgan is a Welsh author living in Yorkshire in the UK, near to the birth place of Guy Fawkes.

His books have been described as a perfect read for lovers of the works of C.J. Sansom and S. J. Parris and anyone interested in how historic events have shaped our own times.

In addition to writing novels, Tony gives history on topics such as Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot and the life of Margaret Clitherow.

[Find Tony Morgan on his website here.]

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

I am delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

kelegeeen-banner

Book Details

Kelegeen
Historical Fiction
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc. (March 1, 2018)
Paperback: 433 pages
ISBN-10: 0228600294
ISBN-13: 978-0228600299
Kindle ASIN: B07B52K2TB

Book Blurb 

Ireland 1846 

Meg O’Connor, daughter of poor Irish cottiers, eagerly anticipates her wedding to Rory Quinn.  Her dreams of marriage and family vanish along with Ireland’s potato crop when Kelegeen’s inhabitants awaken one morning to find their sole source of food destroyed by blight.

At first Meg and Rory are able to use their skills, hers of sewing and his of wood carving, to provide for themselves and their families.  But tragedy and a costly mistake end those means of survival forcing them into more dangerous ventures.

As An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger, continues to churn through Ireland ravaging the country’s peasantry with no let up in sight, Meg is compelled to make the most difficult decision of her life.  What she chooses could be the salvation of the O’Connor and Quinn families or it could separate her forever from all she knows and loves.

My Thoughts

I love the cover, the premise, and always a good historical novel. Of course, my grandfather, bless his blatherskite heart, claimed a connection to Cork. I think most have heard of the Great Potato Famine of Ireland between 1846 and 1849, as it certainly led to a large population of immigrants to America. But that was never the whole story. There was something even darker than the blight growing in the background.

As crops failed because of the blight, people began running out of food. The potato crop meant sustenance through the ensuing winter. But failing their normal stores of food meant people scrambling to find work to buy what they could with pennies for wages. It would appear, however, that the English began a systematic effort at thinning the Irish population. They took the land and became unrepentant landlords, evicting the occupants and destroying the cottages, boycotting stores of food sent by other populations, and placing a tax which starving populations had no way of paying.

This novel focuses mainly on two families, the O’Connors and the Quinn’s, along with priest Father O’Malley. There are certainly other families playing support roles in various forms, from the family of the town drunk to the family who fails to lend to neighbors, zealously guarding anything they were able to hoard. Others became susceptible to diseases that starvation promotes and quickly the casualties of their small community. Meg O’Connor and Rory Quinn are looking forward to a wedding when the famine hits, delaying nuptials. Quinn’s family runs the worst of bad luck and soon the craft Rory was using to bring in money is squashed, literally, with his hand.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel here–the famine continues through one winter and growing season after another, soon forcing activities none would have thought capable.

KelegeenThe character of Father O’Malley is exceptional. He is well developed and so completely sympathetic you want to cry with him when he must perform Last Rites. He seems to have an inexhaustible fortitude and always goes out of his way to care for his parishioners. Meg is a scrapper. Seems she can manage whatever the heinous task she must perform, along with her mother who steadfastly teaches by example and holds the family together.

Along comes an English doctor. I kept waiting for his other shoe to drop. It appeared to me he was trying too hard to be accepted by the Irish in his territory and I wondered what mischief he could heap on those willing patients.

Meg eventually decides that she must go to America. There is jobs, money, opportunity and she’ll send money home hopefully to be able to reunite with Rory, which whom she is committed in a rather ingenious way, I thought.

I was left trying to figure out where Kelegeen is located. I would have loved descriptions of the town and people. The Catholic priest at the forefront commanded a great deal of philosophy and had me wanting to light a candle for him but the narrative might have been tightened or shortened somewhat, generating a faster pace. It certainly pointed out issues over-riding the major problem (that of the blight) exacerbating the tragedy (the English). It was well-plotted, highly researched, and detailed.

For the sensitive, the conclusion is emotional, wringing out all the poignant issues of pushing off to the unknown, leaving loved ones behind. I received this digital download from the publisher for this Great Escapes Book Tour. It’s powerful and recommended.

His Thoughts

Truly a masterpiece of historical representation! War is not the only way to defeat a people. The Romans did it at Masada by isolating the Jews and starving them out. The Irish were starved and nearly wiped out by a famine exacerbated by lack of support and a naval blockade of Irish ports.  An import fee was charged at the British ports even on charitable foodstuffs for the victims. Thus, we have this tragic expose of the plight of hundreds of thousands of Irish men, women, and children unfold.

A terrible attack was waged against the Catholic religion when Henry the Eighth persecuted the church and its’ clergy.  Many priests and bishops were killed or exiled. Whole communities were decimated by an English aristocracy with cold and calculated barbarism. A potato famine yielded little or no food for the tenant farmers. However, the citizens had to pay a rental fee every six months for land that had been confiscated by the British. If the rent was not paid their small bungalows were destroyed following eviction. At times 10 or 12 people occupied the house with their animals and all their meager belongings.

This book chronicles the lives and trials of a young couple and their families in these tragic times. Most neighbors were happy to help others when they had the ability. Having a house with many small children and mouths to feed makes for extreme hardship. The parish priest does his best to help assuage the suffering and comfort his people. Some of the men turned to drink to help forget their inability to provide for their wives and children.

CE WilliamsEscaping to America and Australia were sometimes the only way to help families at home. Getting the small fee for passage often took food out of the mouths of the family. The mental toll on the families and priests tasked with their spiritual well-being was beyond heartbreaking.

This book is not easy to read, but understanding of that difficult time is truly eye-opening. Prepare to love the characters and pray for the souls lost in this tragedy. 5 stars – C.E. Williams

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one (1) print copy of Kelegeen on this Rafflecopter giveaway

Rosepoint Publishing:  4.25 of 5 Stars Four and One Quarter Stars

Eileen O'Finlan - authorAbout The Author: Eileen O’Finlan calls her writing “history with a twist” because she is intrigued by the unusual and little known aspects of history – the stories on history’s margins, the things rarely taught in the classroom. For her, that’s where history really gets fun.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, her family moved to Worcester when she was two.  Four years later they moved to Holden where Eileen grew up and where she now resides with her 93-year-old mother and two cats.

Eileen holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry.  She works full time for the Diocese of Worcester and teaches online courses in Catholic studies for the University of Dayton, Ohio.  She is proud to say that Pope Francis owns a copy of her debut novel, Kelegeen.  Erin’s Children, the sequel to Kelegeen, will be released by BWL Publishing, Inc. in December of 2020.

Author Links

Webpage:  https://eileenofinlan.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eileenofinlanauthor/ ;

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17762333.Eileen_O_Finlan ;

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/eileenofinlan ;

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnoxfrZpgvtHbAH74qM_vEQ ;

BWL Publishing, Inc. Author page:  http://bookswelove.com/o-finlan-eileen/

Purchase Links: Amazon: –  Barnesandnoble.com  –  Apple iTunes  –  Google Play  – Kobo – Smashwords

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

May 21 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW

May 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

May 23 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

May 24 – Literary Gold – EXCERPT

May 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

May 26 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 27 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

May 28 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – EXCERPT

May 29 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

May 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book– AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 30 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

 Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this historical fiction novel!

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Book Reviews and Links on Web Directories–Good for SEO or Backlinks?

Backlink checker and DoFollow links that award SEO link juice?

Book Reviews and Links on Web Directories--Good for SEO or Backlinks?

ACK! My head is spinning! I thought it would be simple…I just wanted to work on my page rank, which according to MOZ is 30. I’d bumbled into MOZ looking for my Domain Authority and into Ahref which posted a free backlink checker. Next thing I know, I’m reading articles on Google cautioning contrived backlinks. And then there are DoFollow links that award SEO link juice. Huh? Link juice? Holy cow, do I need a whole new dictionary? (maybe)

Web Directories

My Ezine Articles logo

Before I really got my blog up and running, I began writing for Ezine Articles. Back then it was a way to drive traffic back to my blog. But the web directory market got into some major trouble as Yahoo quickly usurped them with their own masterful web directories and then was swallowed by the Google whale just as easily. Google algorithms do not like duplicate content or contrived backlinks. I didn’t know I was contriving. I’m pleading the ignorance card.

Big fish east little fish

Ezine Articles covered a number of subjects, one of which was book reviews (and are still online).

I wrote a number of reviews including an article on historical fiction. I was still busy marketing my grandfather’s historical fiction books back then. This article was originally published November 9, 2016 and abridged below.

A Peak Inside Their Lives

Historical fiction is pretty much everything from eons ago through the Civil War, WWII, and the Vietnam War era. There is never a lack of stories on any period of time that captures your interest.

There are some differences of opinion regarding the definition of historical fiction, but according to the Providence Public Library, it is generally agreed to be set 50 or more years previous and written from research. There are as many categories and sub-genres as authors (see my article 10 Amazing Sub-Genre’s in Historical Fiction), although the better known are probably the traditional historical novels that accurately follow an historical event. Historical novels may also include mysteries, romances, or adventures.

Vietnam Era stories can fall into the historical realm at this point, and one of the notable authors, a veteran himself, is Bob Meyer. You may have also read a June Collins’ novel called Goodbye, Junie Moon” about the same time period set in Viet Nam and not wholly fiction. The older folks may remember the scandal she stumbled across and wrote about that led to congressional hearings.

The biography “Calvin Many Wolves Potter,” was penned by his great-great-granddaughter, Elaine Brooks Held. The biography, “Charlie Chaplin-A Brief Life,” was authored by Peter Ackroyd. Ackroyd did a splendid job of painting a picture of Charlie the man (with all his warts), Charlie the actor, and Charlie the powerhouse cinema innovator. While most persons over the age of 30 know the name, few of us are familiar with the impact his life had, not only on the US (his adopted nation), but worldwide, early in 20th Century film technology.

Fortunately, in a period of digital as well as audio downloads, you don’t even have to leave your home to secure a good read anymore and many of these are offered free. The popularity of book stores and printed books are enjoying a resurgence. Libraries and book clubs can still pack them in.

Not sure just how many historical fiction categories there are? Log into Providence Public Library at http://www.provlib.org/guide-historical-fiction-lovers to discover all the genres and sub-genres–some of which you’ve never heard of!

(Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gin_Williams/1397243)

(Yes, I’m aware the intro sentence doesn’t constitute a canonical link. That’s another whole area I’m stumbling across and another reason I severely cut the above article. There is, however, an excellent post about canonical links posted by Melanie Rockett of the Book Reviewers Directory.

Relevance

Speaking of relevant links, the above directory as well as The Book Blogger’s List would be considered (I assume) relevant web directories for a book reviewer and relevance is where it’s at.

And backlinks.

And SEO.

(Isn’t Goodreads a “NoFollow?”) Free blogging directories? Anyone have any experience with Blogarama? It does not provide reciprocal links. (I can find lists, but many [on a page listing 50 blog directories!] no longer exist.) 

Conclusion

While I remain severely confused over backlinks, SEO, and unsure how to proceed, it would appear that while, yes, those old web directories do not provide the backlinks you are seeking and could actually earn you a Google face slap for duplicating content. The point is relevancy and there are some much newer web directories that if appropriate for your blog, may still be of benefit to link. Are you listed on either of the two noted above? Perhaps you have additional **permanent** blogger directories you’d like to share?

I certainly welcome your ideas and suggestions!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Info Source: Cognitive SEO

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson – A #BookReview #historicalfiction

A book club of the month selection. But do I agree with their assessment?

Do I agree with the Book Club?

Book Blurb:

The New York Times and USA Today bestseller!

“…a hauntingly atmospheric love letter to the first mobile library in Kentucky and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and — just as importantly — a compassionate human connection.”—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.

My Review:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

In an effort to find a local book club that I could actually attend (preferably during daylight hours), I went back to the one that sets out a book of the month that everyone would read and then hold a discussion. The February read was The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, released May of last year. The popular book club has met for twenty years.

This was a doozy of a book for my introduction to a live book group. I love it when I learn new things, and this a story in my own country and a state I know little about, except for riding through a portion of it in 2004. Add to boot, a historical fiction–and you know I love those–about the WPA project endorsed by Roosevelt during the depression. The Pack Horse Library Project delivered books to families in the remote areas of the Appalachians between 1935 and 1943, mostly by women. It was isolating and dangerous.

Closed off, desperately poor, with little hope for better times, the families welcomed even the normally shunned blue-skinned Pack House Librarian receiving books, magazines, and old newspapers that had been donated and brought to a central location there to be redistributed among those on her routes, sometimes covering as much as twenty miles. Cussy lived with her father, a miner, with black lung disease. There were many times, failing a family member who could read, she stayed to read to them.

A strongly patriarchal society, her father didn’t like her working, but beginning to fail himself and both of them starving, grudgingly allowed her the job. The book in first person tells the story of herself as well as those on her routes, desperate for any news and help. Those who could, contributed recipes or patterns, items that were added to scrapbooks divided into areas of interest–gardening, maintenance, quilting, etc. Mountain, home-grown remedies. These were extremely remote areas and winter only added to the burden.

So many issues in this book besides prejudice, illiteracy, backwoods justice, starvation, abuse, folklore, and illness. It’s a different culture steeped in tradition. The vernacular puts you on the mule behind Cussy as she winds through narrow canyon trails and heavily wooded landscapes to visit her patrons. There are politics and societal issues and the author deals with many of these through the experience of her own harsh childhood. Her prose strikes more than one cord, “…wailing for Henry and all the Henrys in these dark hollows who’d never be a common grown-up. Stuck forever as Peter Pans.”

“You tell a horse and ask a donkey.”

The conclusion comes rather abruptly after suffering some heartbreaking and brutal scenes, failing to explain a few threads, things I didn’t understand and would have loved an explanation. Extremely well researched, there are scenes drawn in a raw and descriptive manner and I can heartily recommend this unique, compelling novel.

There appears to be an interesting schedule on tap at this location into July and I will be returning in March to share Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. If you’ve read that, I’d love a heads up on your view. In the meantime, I found another group just starting this month in my area, also an afternoon meeting and I’m currently reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Bet you haven’t read that one either! What have I gotten myself into? I’ll be reviewing that book on Thursday, February 27.

Book Details:

Genre: Southern Fiction, Small Town and Rural Fiction, US Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1492671525
ASIN: B07LGD67ZZ
Print Length: 322 pages
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Source: Third Monday Book Club, Crown Point IN
Title Link: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
 
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Book Club Rating-Rosepoint Rating

Kim Michele Richardson - authorThe Author: 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.

You can visit her websites and learn more at: http://www.kimmichelerichardson.com

©2020 V Williams V Williams

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Short and Sweet–Does He Nail Those Reviews? You Tell Me.

Okay, Uncle! Need some help and looks like that will come in the guise of the CE. (Not the first time he’s stepped in to the rescue.)

Short Stack

Associate Reviewer - C E WilliamsFor some time now, you’ve noticed either an individual review or a tandem review with my associate (husband), the CE. Since I’ve achieved overwhelmed status with reads and reviews, I’ve asked him to step in and take a somewhat more frequent role, with the hope that one of these days I’ll be able to write a post article again regarding the bookish world aside from reviews. While I may do just a tad of editing, the reviews will be his, although I’ll continue to set them up to publish.

To that end, he just reviewed ICE which has been named the Winner in the ACTION/ADVENTURE category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. He loved it, by the way, and you can read his review here. (He’s a bit more succinct than I.) He will also cover a few genres I might not have creating a wider sampling range as he enjoys slightly different novel tastes. I’ve booked him up for the following three (including abbreviated blurbs) all from NetGalley: (Links below to Amazon)

Clyde's triplet

First up, The Poison of War by Jennifer Leeper

Two Mexican drug smugglers are murdered on Native American soil and the only clues left behind are two single arrowheads in this compelling page-turner of tribal secrets and distrust at the border… 
Scheduled for Sunday, January 19.

The Master’s Apprentice: A Re-Telling of the Faust Legend by Oliver Pötzsch (Author) Lisa Reinhardt (Translator)

A young man’s destined quest becomes a dance with the devil in a mesmerizing retelling of the Faust legend by the bestselling author of the Hangman’s Daughter Tales series.

It’s the fifteenth century and only heretics are curious about the universe.

Germany, 1494. Born under a rare alignment of the stars, Johann Georg Gerlach, “the lucky one” to his mother—is fated for greatness. But Johann’s studies and wonder at the sky have made him suspect…

Scheduled for Friday Feb 7.

Anne and Louis: Rulers and Lovers (Anne of Brittany Series Book 3) by Rozsa Gaston

In 1501, Anne of Brittany devises the perfect match for her only child by Louis XII, King of France. Their daughter will become the most powerful woman in Europe if she marries the future Holy Roman Emperor. But Louis balks. Instead, he wishes her to marry his successor. How else to keep his own bloodline on the throne?…

Scheduled for Friday, February 14.

If you haven’t already, check out his review of Ice and then swing by again to catch one of the above. Have you read one of these?

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