The Hollow Ground
By Natalie S. Harnett
Thomas Dunne Books, 2014. 336 pgs. Fiction.
Bridig Howley is growing up in actual hell on earth. The small mining town in Pennsylvania is constantly under siege of underground coal-mine fires. They are always waiting for homes and roads and parts of their town to disappear. Not only is Brigid's actual home in danger, her family is on edge as well. Her father can't work since he was involved in a mining accident (that also claimed the life of his brother) and her mother is over the coal dust and poverty. When they have to move in with her grandparents a dark tragedy is revealed and Brigid has to learn to stay strong for the pieces of her family she can keep together.
This story is beautifully written about a unique protagonist and a harsh environment. The details made me feel just as desperate as the Howleys. There is a mystery that brings up past loss and heartbreak and as Brigid learns to deal with it, she makes such a strong character in this really bleak world. I really enjoyed this setting as it was different from other books I have read lately, and the story came together so nicely in the end. I would recommend it to anyone that likes historical fiction or strong main characters.