Friday 56, February 10, 2023: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

The days began to take on a pattern. After Nina had finished work, she would cash out, then start planning what she was going to leave Marek on their tree. It had developed into a full-blown flirtation. Some days she wanted to be funny, some days more serious. Some days she just wrote to him what was on her mind, and he’d write back. She realized that she hadn’t written a letter for year and years, actually sat down and committed her thoughts to paper rather than pinging them off in an e-mail. She wrote more slowly, felt more deeply.”

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, taken from 56% of the way through the ebook


BOOK REVIEW: The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

Title: The Book Woman’s Daughter

Author: Kim Michele Richardson

Audiobook Length: 10 hours and 29 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction,

Read Start Date: January 7, 2023

Read Finish Date: January 18, 2023

Number in Book Series: 2

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Bestselling historical fiction author Kim Michele Richardson is back with the perfect book club read following Honey Mary Angeline 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 that 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.

My Review: This book is both a standalone book and a sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. This book is told from Honey Mary Angeline Lovett’s POV. If you haven’t read the first book you will still be able to read and enjoy this book, but you will miss out on some of the backstory of Honey’s mother and the packhorse project.

The story starts off with Honey’s parents going to jail for violating Kentucky’s misogyny laws, which outlaws the marriage of two different races. Honey and her mother, Cussie, are carriers of a genetic trait that led to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia, turning their skin blue. Therefore, in the eyes of the racist, ignorant Kentucky folk, the marriage between Cussy and her husband, a white man, violates the law. They are sent to prison for 2 years.

Honey, nearly 17 years old, is at risk — the authorities want to send her to a reform school until the age of 21 — which is little more than a child prison — even though she would legally be an adult at the age of 18. Luckily, a guardian (an elderly woman and friend of Cussy’s named Loretta) steps forward, keeping her out of prison for the moment. That path is shattered when Loretta dies, leaving Honey again at risk.

But Honey is resilient and a tough cookie, as my boyfriend would say. She gets a job and makes a salary (the same one her mother had bringing library books on mule back to the disadvantaged folk in the Kentucky mountains). She makes friends, she pays her own way, and she even researches a landmark case in Kentucky for emancipation. She is determined to gain her freedom.

This is a story about friendship, overcoming adversity, and about standing up for your beliefs, even in the face of danger.

I found this book slow at times, and I couldn’t put it down at other times. Trigger warning for elements of domestic abuse and violence against women. Although I did enjoy it when the villain got the comeuppance he deserved at the end.

All in all a great book. I would recommend it along with the first one.

For some interesting book club questions, I would recommend visiting Three Sisters Read blog post here.

Other Books in this Series

Title: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Author: Kim Michele Richardson

Audiobook Length: 9 hours and 26 minutes

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

Read Start Date: September 13, 2022

Read Finish Date: September 23, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry.

The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government’s new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.

See my review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek here.