Sunday, January 10, 2016

"Coal River" - Ellen Marie Wiseman

Hello fellow bibliophiles! Today's review is the first book in conjunction with my "Clean Slate Read-a-thon." I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley so huge shout out to them! Thanks! Make sure to check out my progress for the read-a-thon on my progress post which can be found HERE. Coal River by Ellen Marie Wiseman was a great way to kick start the challenge. I picked this book up and did not put it down until I had finished it. So disappointed in myself for putting this book off!!

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.

This book was great. The writing was easy to follow, it had fantastic depictions of the scenes that were being described, and twists that I never saw coming! I really liked the historical aspect of the book. I  have not read other books about coal mining and did not know much about the effects it had on all aspects of the people and the towns the mills were in. Emma was a well-rounded character who had seen and suffered more than someone her age should have yet she had desire and hope, a longing for more that she never gave up on. I felt I was able to easily put myself into the scenes and see exactly what Wiseman was talking about. She had clear definitions for all the characters and their roles. I really liked the character, Clayton Nash. There could easily be a book on him alone. His dynamic with Emma seemed a little odd at times, but I liked how things came together in the end. What I liked best were the twist and turns. The book is suspenseful but not "sitting on the edge of your chair" suspenseful. It builds really well and then BAM! out of nowhere! If anything, read it just for that fact alone. Like I said, I did not put it down until I had finished. Great book! I'm kicking myself for putting off for so long. Once again, thanks Netgalley for the opportunity to read it! As always, feel free to share any thoughts, comments, or recommendations!

Happy reading fools :) 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! I love hearing feedback and your thoughts on the book!