printed copy

Coal River: A Novel

Ellen Marie Wiseman

ISBN 9781617734472
Publish Date 11/24/2015
Format Trade Paperback
Categories General, Kensington

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.

Praise For The Novels Of Ellen Marie Wiseman

What She Left Behind

“A great coming-of-age story.” --School Library Journal

“A real page turner.” --Historical Novel Society

“The author has once again delved into the lives of teenage girls, albeit in different circumstances than her first work, yet with the same insight, nuance, and raw emotion readers can appreciate and enjoy.” --New York Journal of Books

“A great read!” --The San Francisco Book Review

The Plum Tree

“The meticulous hand-crafted detail and emotional intensity of The Plum Tree immersed me in Germany during its darkest hours and the ordeals its citizens had to face. A must-read for WWII Fiction aficionados—and any reader who loves a transporting story.” --Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us

“Wiseman eschews the genre’s usual military conflicts of daily life during wartime, lending an intimate and compelling poignancy to this intriguing debut.” --Publishers Weekly

“Ellen Marie Wiseman weaves a story of intrigue, terror, and love from a perspective not often seen in Holocaust novels.” --Jewish Book World

“Ellen Marie Wiseman’s provocative and realistic images of a small German village are exquisite. The Plum Tree will find good company on the shelves of those who appreciated Skeletons at the Feast, by Chris Bohjalian, Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay, and Night, by Elie Wiesel.” --NY Journal of Books

About Ellen Marie Wiseman:

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. To date, her books have been translated in 17 languages and territories. For more, visit: ellenmariewiseman.com.

Photo Credit: Christopher Bova


Average Customer Review

Based on 1 review


Customer Review

Coal River (Friday, February 5, 2016)
Reviewer: Jbarr5

Coal River by Ellen Marie Wiseman
Find it interesting to read about coal mines. This book starts out with Emma and she dreams of her brother Albert and her parents that died in the fire. She's to live with her mothers sister and their family at Coal River.
Uncle Otis runs the mine and she's to help in the house with chores and in the company store with Percy-her cousin. She is quite taken aback to learn of the breaker boys and how they are not being educated and she sees the emptiness in the wives that come into the store, the despair.
She wants to help them escape and get out in the real world. What I like about this book is learning more of the coal mine and the rats and why they are not harmed. Love learning all the new words and what they mean.
Such a strong and brave woman in that time and to do the things she did to make life easier for others without caring about her personal life. Lots of action, surprises and the book is not a predictable one by any means.
I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review


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