It doesn't matter who you are, reading is a sanctuary and everyone has a need and purpose to read.
In the Kentucky Appalachians, Cussy Mary Carter is the Book Woman. She travels by donkey with books, magazines, pamphlets, and any other reading material the local library can scrounge up and send to the hill people.
Cussy Mary lives with her dear father. Working in the coal mines, her father is fearful of an early death while he attempts to get a mate for Cussy. Mating season in the hills is noted by placing a burning candle in the window. A lit candle means an available bride.
With little faith in the candle, she knows her unique blue skin places her status on the lowest rung of humanity. Cussy's job as Book Woman gives her all the freedom she can hope for. She teaches the mountain people to read and surprises them with materials of interest, when available, to keep them excited about knowledge.
On Cussy's route, Jackson Lovett settled himself in a cabin after traveling the country. He appears to have an eye for Cussy, which she refuses to acknowledge. No man of such wondrous standing would want anything to do with a blue woman.
The local doctor repeatedly requests testing on Cussy's color. Maybe there's hope to change from blue to white. Or is the color of a person a vanity issue while the person remains the same? Another problem for Cussy to encounter.
Jackson is held back from approaching Cussy, but he does show interest in simple ways when she approaches his home with her reading materials. A bouquet of wildflowers confuses her. Yet, does she sense his interest?
Tragedy's are exchanged for hope. Hope in life, reading, and love. With each show of anger, jealousy, and prejudice, a page turns with strengthened friendship and love.
Richardson's story is an intelligent, hopeful, and heartwarming tale. It's easy to get involved with Cussy's life and wish her the best.