Coal River: A Powerful and Unforgettable Story of 20th Century Injustice (Paperback)

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(FICTION BACKLIST)

Description


From the New York Times bestselling author of What She Left Behind comes a haunting and meticulously researched novel of historical fiction. Ellen Marie Wiseman draws readers into the Pennsylvania mining operations of the early 20th century—where children had no choice but to work in deadly conditions…or face starvation. This is an eye-opening novel sure to stay with you long after you turn the last page…
 
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.
 
“Wiseman offers heartbreaking and historically accurate depictions . . . [a] powerful story.” 
Publishers Weekly
 
“Heartrending and strongly drawn historical details.”
Booklist
 
“Intense and heartbreaking at times, but full of hope. The author’s impeccable research into this era makes for a spot-on portrayal of a dark time in American history…’unputdownable’.”
The Historical Novels Review, Editor’s Choice
 
“Things get really, really fast and furious.  This book opened my eyes to the coal mines.  I loved it. Would be a great book club selection.”
Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver, CO)

About the Author


Ellen Marie Wiseman is the New York Times bestselling author of highly acclaimed historical fiction novels The Orphan Collector, What She Left Behind, The Plum TreeCoal River and The Life She Was Given, which was a Great Group Reads selection of the Women’s National Book Association and National Reading Group Month. Born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in Northern New York, she’s a first-generation German American who discovered her love of reading and writing while attending first grade in one of the last one-room schoolhouses in New York State. Since then, her novels have been translated into eighteen languages and published worldwide. A mother of two, Ellen lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and dogs. She can be found online at: EllenMarieWiseman.com

Praise For…


“Ellen Marie Wiseman takes readers deep into the politics and hidden atrocities of a 20th-century Pennsylvania mining town.”
BookPage
 
“Heartrending and strongly drawn historical details.”
Booklist
 
“Wiseman offers heartbreaking and historically accurate depictions… The richly developed coal town acts as a separate, complex character; readers will want to look away even as they're drawn into a powerful quest for purpose and redemption…[a] powerful story”
Publishers Weekly
 
“Paints a picture of the struggles mining families faced in the early 1900s. Emma is a strong, likable character that is willing to fight for what she believes is right…the plot of Coal River sweeps the reader along as Emma faces each obstacle.  This book will attract readers of historical fiction and those looking for strong female character.”
VOYA
 
“Intense and heartbreaking at times, but full of hope. The author’s impeccable research into this era makes for a spot-on portrayal of a dark time in American history. Coal River [is] one of the most “unputdownable” books of 2015.”
The Historical Novels Review, Editor’s Choice
 
“Things get really, really fast and furious.  This book opened my eyes to the coal mines.  I loved it. Would be a great book club selection.”
Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver, CO)
Product Details
ISBN: 9781496730015
ISBN-10: 1496730011
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: April 28th, 2020
Pages: 368
Language: English