The author evokes a strong sense of place in his descriptions of the coal mining country and land in this novel. Had I been born there and left, I think this novel would have given me a strong sense of nostalgia. The sisters' relationship, with its ups and downs and ultimately, its loyalty, was the main theme of the novel. Faith played another strong role as a theme, as did music and the power of song to uplift the soul. I felt myself slow down and relax to the pace of the dialogue and descriptions as I read this novel. The authors' love for this area of the country was evident. An enjoyable read and glimpse into small town Kentucky in the second half of the 20th century.
Venetia C's review of the book expresses my sentiments also. For most of the book the setting is timeless, until the last third when events from the late 1960's are mentioned. The visual descriptions and the family values toward the land reminded me of Wendell Berry's writing. The life experiences of the two sisters tugged at my emotions as much as "Cold Mountain" did. I'll be reading Clay's Quilt next.
The Coal Tattoo is the third installment in a series by Silas House. This sweet novel is strong enough to stand on its own if you haven't read the first two books in the series, A Parchment of Leaves and Clay's Quilt. This a story primarily of two very different sisters as they walk through various trials, sometimes successfully and sometimes just by enduring. It is also a reflection of life in a rural area and the influence of coal mining on a community. As lives of the sisters unfolds the reader discovers how events in their past affects the characters present choices and values and leads them to uncover strength within.