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Fiction featuring Care Experience

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Coal River

Ellen Marie Wiseman (3)


In Coal River (2015) Wiseman investigates the practice of employing children to work in a coal mine. The protagonist is 19-year-old Emma Malloy who lived in the fictional Coal River, Pennsylvania for 4 months as a child. Her parents have recently died and she returns to Coal River, penniless, to live again with her mother’s sister, Aunt Ida, and her Uncle Otis and cousin Percy. Emma’s relatives are happy to have Emma stay if she works without pay and doesn’t embarrass them by complaining about the many boys who have died or lost limbs working in the mine.

Outraged by what she sees, Emma determines to do what she can. She steals from the company store (where the mining community is forced to shop at exorbitant prices) and gives the produce to mining families while also cancelling shoppers’ debts. Emma also conspires with the delightful Clayton Nash (who takes in orphans) to expose the mining company for its illegal and dangerous practices.

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