Monday, November 10, 2014

One of Us by Tawni O'Dell

Posted for reader Kaye - 

This story is set in a Pennsylvania mining town in modern time. Very quickly I felt a part of this town and its people, a town steeped in history. I could picture the lives of the Irish miners and the poverty they lived in.

In the past, the owner of the mine and his family became wealthier, while the miners and their families struggled to keep food on the table. They were lucky to have a few pennies left from their pay after paying their bill at the company store - the company store where they had to purchase everything if they wanted to continue working in the mine, or anywhere, or be blackballed by the owner from working anywhere else. The prices were high and the goods inferior.

In the history of the town and of the mine, ten men were hung from the gallows for the murder of two policemen. These men were trying to start a union to get better working conditions and pay for the miners and their families. Eight men were innocent, but ten were hung as a warning to the rest of the miners: a warning that the wealthy owner was in control and could do as he wanted. The mine is still producing now, using a process called fracking, and employing about 40 men. So the mine still controls some of the descendants of the original miners.

A story unfolds after a man returns to his hometown to visit his sick grandfather and his mentally impaired mother. A death in the town unveils a secret from the past. Then three more deaths from the past come to light after several more murders. I read this book in a day, as I had to see how it would end. This is the first book I have read by this author, but plan to read more from her!

-Submitted by Georgette Kaye Carroll 

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