Like most good books—no matter how long they are—The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson went by way too quickly. It’s beautifully written with a story that sadly echoes with issues women still face today, seventy years later.
Honey Mary Angeline Lovett is the adopted daughter of the Troublesome Creek pack-horse librarian we got to know in Richardson’s previous book. Now sixteen and alone, Honey must overcome institutionalized discrimination, misogyny, illiteracy, and violence in her isolated Kentucky community while she tries to stay out of the forced labor of a state-run orphanage. She is accompanied by Junia, that cantankerous but surprisingly protective old mule. And throughout it all, her thoughts are for her incarcerated parents and the women and children on her book route.
Here are a few of the author’s words to whet your whistle:
“You grow readers, expand minds, if you let them choose, but you go banning a read, you stunt the whole community.”
“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. As long as you have the books, you’ll always have that light.”
“Laws about females never make a lick of sense because they’re made and run by men and meant to keep us in bondage.”
“Can’t be angry and smart at the same time. Now, nothing wrong in having the anger, but the two rarely work together.”
“Though it rarely happens fast enough and not near as quick as it should, Honey, I expect like all ugly laws, change will come.”
“Like all Kentucky women, I knew when to stand and knew when to bow and back down. It was a means of survival that was taught to the very young, instilled in the smallest of girls.”
This is another book with such great pacing that kept me reading past my bedtime. Is that smoke I smell? Strongly recommend.
PS: I also recommend another book about a strong young female, The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd. This is the true story of a sixteen-year-old Eliza Lucas who is left to run her father’s plantation in the 1730s and ends up changing history.