Do you love Historical Fiction? This is one of the genres that I started reading after I retired. And, I love it. I guess what I really like most about it is that it usually contains some truth. Either the topic being discussed or the setting, and sometimes real people. Not to mention that reading about history is fun especially with added fiction.
I will let Amazon tell you a little about Ellen and a little about the book. Then I will add my review because… well just because…. it is my blog after all. 🙂
About the Author:
Ellen Marie Wiseman was born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in Northern New York. Ellen lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband, two spoiled Shih-tzus, and a rescued yellow lab. She loves to cook, travel, garden, watch movies and spend time with her children and grandchildren.
For more information about Ellen, please visit http://www.ellenmariewiseman.com.
And I will add that this area of upstate New York is absolutely gorgeous. I am not particularly fond of the winters up there, but the Spring, Summer and Fall can’t be beat. (says the somewhat partial New York Army Mom.)
In this vibrant new historical novel, the acclaimed author of The Plum Tree and What She Left Behind explores one young woman’s determination to put an end to child labor in a Pennsylvania mining town. . .
As a child, Emma Malloy left isolated Coal River, Pennsylvania, vowing never to return. Now, orphaned and penniless at nineteen, she accepts a train ticket from her aunt and uncle and travels back to the rough-hewn community. Treated like a servant by her relatives, Emma works for free in the company store. There, miners and their impoverished families must pay inflated prices for food, clothing, and tools, while those who owe money are turned away to starve.
Most heartrending of all are the breaker boys Emma sees around the village–young children who toil all day sorting coal amid treacherous machinery. Their soot-stained faces remind Emma of the little brother she lost long ago, and she begins leaving stolen food on families’ doorsteps, and marking the miners’ bills as paid.
Though Emma’s actions draw ire from the mine owner and police captain, they lead to an alliance with a charismatic miner who offers to help her expose the truth. And as the lines blur between what is legal and what is just, Emma must risk everything to follow her conscience.
An emotional, compelling novel that rings with authenticity–Coal River is a deft and honest portrait of resilience in the face of hardship, and of the simple acts of courage that can change everything.
One of the things I look for in a novel is description; I want to feel the characters, feel the setting, and most of all feel the story. In doing so, I feel like I know the author. No matter what the topic, a good author shows themselves in what they write! Coal River is one of those beautifully written stories.
As Ellen describes the area and the characters, I could actually feel the dirt on their feet and the black coal on their faces, not to mention the cuts and bruises on their bodies.
I can’t even imagine the lives that the miners and their families lived. With little food, clothing and coal to heat their homes, they got up every morning and went to work. The women stayed home as their husbands and children, as young as 5/6, went off to the very unsafe mines to work 10 hours every day! The stress of whether or not they would return each night had to have been unbearable.
Once I got to the midpoint of the book, there was no putting it down. Page after page, I just wanted to see what happened next.
I noticed a few reviewers didn’t like the romance in the story! Well Gosh; Emma is 19 years old, of course there needs to be some romance! It was written well and certainly wasn’t overdone.
And then there was the ending! I never saw it coming, but I loved it! If you want to read a good Historical Fiction with a few twists and an unexpected ending, then this is a book for you. I highly recommend Coal River, and I am looking forward to reading more from Ellen Marie Wiseman. My rating, definitely 5 Stars…
p.s. Along the way Emma does a few things that aren’t legal… I couldn’t help but to think about Robin Hood as I was reading. 🙂
I received this book while attending an online facebook party… Thank you Ellen for sending it to me, I really enjoyed reading and reviewing it.
As Always, don’t forget to:
LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH and by All Means, READ!