Saturday, November 28, 2015
Review: Coal River
Title: Coal River
Author: Ellen Marie Wiseman
Published: November 24th 2015
How I got this book: I was lucky enough to get this book through netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
My rating: 5 stars
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 theur impoversihed families must pay inflated prices for food, clothing, and tolls, 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 min 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.
I think this was my first historical fiction book, and I'm so glad I read this. It's adult historical fiction, something I never read. At first, I was a bit sceptical, but I absolutely loved this book.
The main character, Emma, is nineteen years-old, and I guess I connected a bit with her because of her age. She's only one year older than me, and I could only imagine what I would do in her position.
There's so much injustice in this book. The breaker boys broke my heart, and I just wanted everything to be fixed. Though this is a fictional story, I learned so much about the mining communities in the States. I read that Wiseman did a lot of research whilst writing this book, and you could really see that in the story. The details with the mines, from the village, to the corruption, to the inside of the breaker.
I don't have much to say about this book, except that I really loved it. I had some trouble adjusting to the genre, but that's just because it was completely new to me. Emma is so lovable, hardworking and just good. I know I will be buying this for my friends and family as christmas gifts this year. I just want everyone to read it!
Want to buy the book?
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