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Publisher's Summary

As a child, Emma Malloy left isolated Coal River, Pennsylvania, vowing never to return. Now, orphaned and penniless at 19, 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. As the lines blur between what is legal and what is just, Emma must risk everything to follow her conscience.

©2015 Ellen Marie Wiseman (P)2015 Tantor

What listeners say about Coal River

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great history

If you have ever visited Jim Thorpe, PA and have visited the historic jail, then you have walked into the jail/gallows scene in the book. Very gripping. Helpful fictional account of the true motivation of miners' strikes and the push for child labor laws.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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really great book

was so hoping for a happy ending with this one, and thankfully I got one. I love all of her books can't wait for the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Sappy!

I wouldn't waste my time!

Predictable middle and ending. Skip it I had to read for book club

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great subject - soapy story

This is a very painful chapter in our history that not all people know about. Would have had s greater impact had the story been s little less soapy

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I've listened to all year.

This book was awesome. I didn't want it to end, you can't go wrong with this one.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A good story, adequately told

This is an unabridged work of historical fiction that could have used some abridging. The tale is compelling and reflective of the time and place in which it is set. However, it suffers from an excess of melodrama so it comes off as maudlin, rather than serious. I also found the narrator's voice rather annoying, but that is a personal preference. She read well.

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a good book on the conditions of coal mining

story capture interest. reminds people of the horror of coal mining in the early days

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator reads without feelings or emotions

While the book was quite enjoyable ; the narrator spoils the performance. She reads too fast and without emotions and feelings for the subject matter. It was quite disappointing. Read the book form and forget the audio version if you want to really enjoy this book.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Slow

very slow book. doesnt get good until the last few chapters. not worth a credit.

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Very good

I always have a difficult time listening to stories involving children but I felt this one was very good