Everything about this book made me absolutely love it. First off, I adore reading stories about realistic and relatable characters, and the characters in this book feel like my very own neighbors. I particularly love that people and families show up in multiple stories, giving the reader a more robust picture of the characters and their family dynamics. There was not a single story in this book that was not fantastic, a rare trait with short story compendiums.
Secondly, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Western PA setting of these stories, due to living in Western PA myself. The small town I live in once had its booming heyday, also thanks to coal, and it has changed so much through the years, I can really relate to the setting of Bakerton; it feels like the world right outside my door. However, I suspect I could love anywhere and still relate to Bakerton, since the author paints such a vivid portrait.
The plots of the stories themselves are so human, so real, so heartbreaking in many cases. Yet even the melancholy stories are tinted with hope, something I adored about this book. Fans of short stories will appreciate the book, as well as fans of historical fiction.