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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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Yvette Inman on 12-17-15

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.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Karen E. Littlejohn on 06-20-16

Sappy!

I wouldn't waste my time!

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

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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