wow, I loved this book , a book about a family,the choices they make a family the regrets they had a birth and a death of an era and a town.I could not put this book down I read it in less than a day.It was not a mystery but you definitely wanted to turn the page to find out what happened next. It was not a happy ending per say however it was satisfying in a way that and you find out that in the end the land lives on. I would so
recommend this book to anyone the story was so real.
The well-written and very realistic characters in this book tell a story that is all too common -- how the decisions we make when we are young can unknowlingly shape the rest of our lives. From Georgie, the oldest of the five Novak children, who was seemingly destined to leave the confines of the little Pennsylvania mining town; fragile Dorothy; responsible Joyce who leaves the military and a life otherwise filled with promise to care for her ailing mother and younger siblings; younger brother Sandy, who leads a shiftless life; to little Lucy (the family's bonus baby) who, although seemingly groomed for a promising life outside of Bakerton, but feels compelled to return.
The author truly captures the essence of a small mining community in post-WW II America, where, for the men, a lifetime of working in the mines is almost an expectation. For the women, few opportunities exist beyond keeping house and raising children in the company houses that fill Bakerton's ethnic neighborhoods. Life moves by slowly, predictably, with little desire for change. When the times and economy changes, the town of Bakerton gradually fades away, but with hope for the future.
Jennifer Haigh tells the story of the Novacs beautifully. I'm not normally one to be driven to read the book cover to cover without putting it down, but this time I couldn't help myself. I didn't want to stop reading.
Loved this book, rich characters - resonated with things I've experienced. I'm going to pass it along to my mom, who I think will enjoy it also. I'm now reading her other book, Mrs. Kimble. LOVING that one too.
Jennifer Haigh sweeps you along effortlessly through time and connects characters, some of which only have being blood relatives, in common. She tells of each separate family members story which go off in all different directions , yet are rooted in one small community. It is thought provoking and you easily care deeply for these people.
This author is an excellant writer. She could probably write about the weather and it would be difficult to put the book down. In this book, she is following the demise of a coal town and how it affects the various families. Her characters are likeable and believable. Not my favorite by her, but still better than most books that I have read. I would compare her writing to a cross between Anne Tyler and Jodie Picoult, which is high praise indeed.
incredible yet sad story...especially coming from a family of coal miners. A definite must read about coming of age, family hardships, and small town America...for me, it's always nice to get a glimpse. highly recommended!
Very moving story of mining family, kids growing up after WWII, leading up to Vietnam War. As this was timeframe of my childhood, I could relate to the simpler lifestyle these kids encountered.
This story follows the growth of each child into adulthood, with society changing around them, at different levels for each child. A rather dark story - not a lot of laughs. Very well written, makes me wants to read more from author.
Memorable line: "Her hair was wound into a bun at the nape of her neck. In the past year, gray had choked out the brown."
The second novel by the author of the award-winning Mrs. Kimble depicts life in a postwar Pennsylvania mining town and continues Haigh's exploration of the hardships of women's lives. In the town of Bakerton, dominated by the towers of the title (made of slowly combusting piles of scrap coal), poor families live in ethnic enclaves of company houses. Italian Rose Novak broke with tradition by marrying a Polish man, but he dies in the book's first chapter, and Rose and her five children struggle through the years that follow. The oldest son, Georgie, returns from WWII and avoids the mining life by marrying the posh, cynical daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia store owner. Rose's daughter Dorothy gets a wartime job in glamorous Washington but breaks down and returns to Bakerton, while capable daughter Joyce, who joins the military just as the war ends, comes home to take care of her ailing mother, resenting Georgie and Sandy, the handsome youngest brother, who escape town. Only Rose and Lucy, the awkward youngest daughter, are content with things as they are. A National Bestseller