Friday, February 1, 2013

Baker Towers, by Jennifer Haigh

Bakerton is a small Pennsylvania coal mining town.  During WWII, and the days shortly after, coal is still in full swing, which is good news for the Novak family.  Mr. Novak works in the mines, until he suddenly passes away, leaving his wife and children to deal with the effects of a changing world in a small town.  Over the next twenty plus years, the family deals with health issues, bad marriages, births, deaths, and heartbreaks.

I was absolutely fascinated by this book.  As someone living in a small town in Pennsylvania where coal mining is still a major industry, a lot of this book hit close to home; I could have been reading a story about the history of my own town.  I was fascinated to read about the evolution of all the characters, but especially the members of the Novak family.  I felt like these characters were all so vivid, I actually could see them in my mind.  I particularly thought the female characters were incredibly strong and fascinating.

Because the story covers over twenty years of this family's story, the book moved at a quick pace.  It made me stay glued to the story.  It was fascinating to watch this town, and the people in it, develop and grown in an attempt to deal with the rapidly changing world in the post war years.  I will admit, portions of the book were a little bleak, but I imagine that is pretty accurate to how life in a coal town would be during those times.

I think the book in beautiful and engaging, and there is something a little haunting about the author's style.  I look forward to reading more from this author.  I think the book will appeal to fans of historical fiction, particularly post WWII stories, as well as stories about small town life.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review.  See the tour of this and a second book by this author here.

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  1. Tiffany, this sounds like one I would really want to read! I've often thought that whole mining scene was so interesting and a tough life.

  2. When my husband got me a book for Christmas, I said, Yay! It's right up my alley: dark and depressing. The way you describe Baker Towers makes me think I would love it as well. :)

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  3. I've been reading your reviews and this caught my eye - sounds like a book my partner and I would both enjoy.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Sue, I really loved the book. It certainly is melancholy but it gave me a good idea what life was like and what struggles existed in Western PA 70 years ago. I think you would both like it!