cover image The Book Woman’s Daughter

The Book Woman’s Daughter

Kim Michele Richardson. Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-72824-259-0

In this earnest follow-up to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, Richardson focuses on 16-year-old Honey Lovett, the daughter of Cussy Mary Lovett, the woman with blue skin whose work for the Pack Horse Library during the 1930s featured in the first installment. Cussy married Jackson Lovett, a white man, and Honey, who inherited an easily concealable version of Cussy’s methemoglobinemia, fends for herself now that her parents have been imprisoned for miscegenation. It’s 1953, and sympathetic friends help keep Honey out of the Kentucky House of Reform, which is bent on holding her until she’s 21. As an effort to achieve her independence, she takes up the traveling librarian job once held by her mother, even riding the same faithful mule, Junia. She also convinces lawyer Bob Morgan to represent her in a bid for legal emancipation, culminating in a climactic courtroom scene complete with damaging testimony from a racist social worker and a misogynist sheriff. Though the story of Honey’s struggle for freedom is a bit formulaic, Richardson excels in her descriptions of the people and places of rural Kentucky. Fans will be delighted to find Cussy’s daughter is just as plucky as her mother. Agent: Stacy Teta, Writers House. (May)