Life in a Wyoming Mining Town in the mid 1800’s
My rating: 4 out of 5
This historical novel tells the tale of a Chinese baby taken in by an American family of coal miners, and her life over the next 17 years. The story shows the difficulty of growing up in a town where you are “different” and no-one wants to be your friend because of that. The American miners feel the Chinese are taking their livelihood away, and with no-one “tryin’ to understand anyone else” racial tensions rise as the book progresses. Liz Harris skillfully takes the reader into the heart of American mining households in the mid 1800’s and the book’s themes include schooling, the everyday life of the miners, shopkeepers and others in the community plus the lives of women in such a town.
This is the second book by Liz Harris that I have read (the first being “A Bargain Struck“), and again with this book you feel that you are there observing the action from just outside an open window. Through the writing you can visualise the town and the homes, and the everyday lives of folk, and it is this attention to historical detail that makes her novels come alive for me.