Kim Michele Richardson

Novelist & Memoirist
NYT Bestseller
Travels from: Louisville, KY

“Richardson was engaging, sharing personal stories from her research and writing process, and incredibly gracious.” — Paul Sawyier Library, 2022

Kim Michele Richardson is a native Kentuckian, and has written four works of historical fiction: Liar’s Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field, The Sisters of Glass Ferry, and her multi-award winning and bestselling The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. She’s also the author of the bestselling memoir, The Unbreakable Child.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek has earned a 2019 LibraryReads Best Book, a 2019 Forbes Best Historical Novel, an Oprah’s Buzziest Books pick and a Women’s National Book Association Great Group Reads selection. It was inspired by the real life “blue people” of Kentucky, and the fierce, brave Packhorse Librarians who used the power of literacy to overcome bigotry and fear during the Great Depression.

Her fifth novel, The Book Woman’s Daughter, was an instant NYT and USA Today’s bestseller and is both a stand-alone and sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Kim Michele lives with her family in Kentucky and is also the founder of Shy Rabbit, a writers residency scholarship.

Prepare an Invitation for:

The Book Woman’s Daughter

Sourcebooks Landmark |
Historical Fiction

“A powerful portrait of the courageous women who fought against ignorance, misogyny, and racial prejudice.” —William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of This Tender Land and Lightning Strike

The new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek!

Bestselling historical fiction author Kim Michele Richardson is back with the perfect book club read following Honey 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 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.

GodPretty In The Tobacco Field

Kensington |
Historical Fiction
From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, an atmospheric, tender tale of love and loss set in 1969 rural Kentucky. There, a young girl named RubyLyn is subjected to grueling labor by her God-fearing uncle, and strives to find a ray of hope in her poverty-stricken town through her own tobacco patch, a forbidden first love, and her home-made paper fortune tellers.

Nameless, Kentucky in 1969 is a hardscrabble community where jobs are few and poverty is a simple fact–just like the hot Appalachian breeze or the pests that can wipe out a tobacco field in days. RubyLyn Bishop is luckier than some. Her God-fearing uncle, Gunnar, has a short fuse and high expectations, but he’s given her a good home ever since she was orphaned at the age of five. But now, a month shy of her sixteenth birthday, RubyLyn itches for more.

Maybe it’s something to do with the paper fortune tellers she’s been making for townsfolk, each covered with beautifully wrought, prophetic drawings. Or perhaps it’s because of Rainey Ford, an African-American neighbor who works alongside her in the tobacco field whom she has a kinship with, despite her uncle’s worrisome shadow and the town’s disapproval. RubyLyn’s predictions are just wishful thinking, not magic at all, but through them she’s imagining life as it could be, away from the prejudice and hardship that ripple through Nameless.

Atmospheric, poignant, and searingly honest, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field follows RubyLyn through the course of one blazing summer, as heartbreaking revelations and life-changing decisions propel her toward a future her fortune tellers never predicted.

The Sisters Of Glass Ferry

Kensington |
Historical Fiction

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a haunting story set deep in moonshine country, where love, loss, redemption and atonement intersect in the dark secrets surrounding a 1952 prom night when two teens go missing in rural Kentucky.

A SIBA Okra Pick
A Southern Book Prize Finalist

Glass Ferry, Kentucky, is bourbon country. Whiskey has been a way of life for generations, enabling families to provide and survive even in the darkest times. Flannery Butler’s daddy, Beauregard “Honey Bee” Butler, was known for making some of the best whiskey in the state. And Flannery is the only person Honey Bee ever entrusted with his recipes before he passed on, swearing her to secrecy as he did so.

But Flannery is harboring other secrets too, about her twin sister Patsy, older by eight minutes and pretty in a way Flannery knows she’ll never be. Then comes the prom night when Patsy–wearing a yellow chiffon dress and the family pearls–disappears along with her date. Every succeeding year on the twins’ birthday, Flannery’s mother bakes a strawberry cake, convinced that this is the day Patsy will finally come home. But it will be two tumultuous decades until the muddy river yields a clue about what happened that night, compelling Flannery to confront the truth about her sleepy town, her family’s past, and the choices she and those closest to her have made in the name of love and retribution…

The Book Woman Of Troublesome Creek

Sourcebooks Landmark |
Historical Fiction

The bestselling historical fiction novel from Kim Michele Richardson, this is a novel following Cussy Mary, a packhorse librarian and her quest to bring books to the Appalachian community she loves, perfect for readers of William Kent Kreuger and Lisa Wingate. The perfect addition to your next book club!

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.

Liar’s Bench

Kensington |
Historical Fiction

“You’ll hear echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird in this haunting coming-of-age story…Beautifully written, atmospheric, and intricately plotted.”
—Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author

In 1972, on Mudas Summers’ seventeenth birthday, her beloved Mama, Ella, is found hanging from the rafters of their home. Most people in Peckinpaw, Kentucky, assume that Ella’s no-good husband did the deed. Others think Ella grew tired of his abuse and did it herself. Muddy is determined to find out for sure either way, especially once she finds strange papers hidden amongst her mama’s possessions.

But Peckinpaw keeps its secrets buried deep. Muddy’s almost-more-than-friend, Bobby Marshall, knows that better than most. Though he passes for white, one of his ancestors was Frannie Crow, a slave hanged a century ago on nearby Hark Hill Plantation. Adorning the town square is a seat built from Frannie’s gallows. A tribute, a relic–and a caution–it’s known as Liar’s Bench. Now, the answers Muddy seeks soon lead back to Hark Hill, to hatred and corruption that have echoed through the years–and lies she must be brave enough to confront at last.

Kim Michele Richardson’s lush, beautifully written debut is set against a Southern backdrop passing uneasily from bigotry and brutality to hope. With its compelling mystery and complex yet relatable heroine, Liar’s Bench is a story of first love, raw courage, and truths that won’t be denied.

The Unbreakable Child

Kunati Inc |
Memoir

Grim yet ultimately inspiring, this harrowing biography catalogues years of institutional abuse that took place in the Saint Thomas–Saint Vincent Orphan Asylum, a Catholic orphanage in Anchorage, Kentucky. After many years of neglect by their drug-addicted mother, Kim and her three older sisters were abandoned to the uncharitable care of the Sisters of Charity. Detailing daily regimens of physical and mental abuse at the hands of the nuns, this chilling memoir explains how the Roman Catholic Church kept the orphanage hidden from prying eyes, miles from any main thoroughfare, allowing mistreatment to continue for decades. Describing her life through adulthood and the decision to finally expose the injustices after more than 30 years, this courageous tale chronicles the lawsuit initiated by 45 survivors, the two years of litigation, and the first successful prosecution of a lawsuit against Roman Catholic nuns in the US for decades of abuse in an orphanage.

Kentucky: the Land, Myths and Traditions

Upcoming Appearances

Book Woman Merchandise

Honors, Awards & Recognition

NYT Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
LA Times Bestseller
IndieBound Bestseller
Library Reads Pick
Women’s National Book Association Great Group Reads
Okra Pick
Community Reads Title

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