Coal River (Paperback)
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In this vibrant 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.
“Wiseman offers heartbreaking and historically accurate depictions . . . a powerful story.”
“Heartrending and strongly drawn.”
Includes an excerpt from Ellen Marie Wiseman’s newest novel, The Orphan Collector
About the Author
Born and raised in Three Mile Bay, a tiny hamlet in Northern New York, Ellen Marie Wiseman is 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. Visit her online at www.EllenMarieWiseman.com.