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Publisher's Summary

In 1931 in Carbon Hill, a small Alabama coal-mining town, nine-year-old Tess Moore watches a woman shove the cover off the family well and toss in a baby without a word.For the Moore family, focused on helping anyone in need during the Great Depression, the apparent murder forces them to face the darker side of their community and question the motivations of family and friends. Backbreaking work keeps most of the townspeople busy from dawn to dusk, and racial tensions abound. For parents, it's a time when a better life for the children means sacrificing health, time, and every penny that can be saved. For a miner, returning home after work is a possibility, not a certainty. However, next to daily thoughts of death, exhausting work, and race are the lingering pleasures of sweet tea, feather beds, and lightning bugs yet to be caught.
©2008 Gin Phillips; (P)2009 Random House
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jean Tribble on 03-27-10

Uplifting Depression Era Novel

This is a wonderful novel about a very strong family living though very hard times. All the characters are so believable and the reader is transported to another place and time. I look forward to Gin Phillips' next book.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Hilary on 06-19-12

A swing and a miss

I would dearly love for someone to write a really good historical novel about Alabama coals towns of the early twentieth century. I've read interviews with folks who lived in these towns and worked in the mines, and their stories are often gripping--the efforts to organize that were met with brutality and injustice, the unbelievably difficult and dangerous work, the enormous love that the people of the towns felt for one another and their community. By comparison, The Well and the Mine is pretty tepid stuff. It also fails to leave this time and take the reader to another. The Moore family is a contemporary white middle-class family plopped into a historical setting. They have the values and attitudes applauded by our time. Albert Moore is a miner, yet manages to own land and buy his momma a house. So few miners were able to own homes or land, at least not in their young lives. Their wages were too poor and too inconsistent, especially in the Depression years. That the Moore family does a bit of farming on the side is nothing out of the ordinary. Most miners kept a garden and a milch cow. Ultimately, The Well and the Mine is didactic and a bit preachy. Reads like young adult fiction.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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