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Review: The Hollow Ground

July 10, 2014

The Hollow Ground

When fire burns in underground coal mines in the early 1960s, young Brigid Howley and her family are forced to move.  They have nowhere else to go so they move in with their grandparents.  Life has been hard on them – Daddy was injured in the mines and can’t work and both Gram and Ma are bitter and mean.

Brigid can feel the tension even though she doesn’t always understand it.  Still she longs for a solid foundation and strives to keep her family together.  As family secrets begin to unravel, it all seems like too much for an eleven year old to absorb.

The Hollow Ground but Natalie S. Harnett is a deeply atmospheric, beautifully written book.  I’m not sure if it was a matter of timing but I didn’t love this book the way I had hoped to.  There is much to like in it, though, and I did like it a great deal.

Rich in historical detail and inspired by real events, Harnett takes readers to central Pennsylvania with her gorgeous writing.  Times were tough and people were in danger and the tension is palpable.  Almost every member of the Howley family has a secret and Brigid unearths something that may bring them all to light.

The story is told mostly from Brigid’s point of view so she’s the most fully developed character.  My heart ached for her as she struggled to navigate the troubled waters of her family.

The Hollow Ground is getting a lot of well deserved praise.  I think it’s well worth reading, even if I didn’t love it as much as everyone else has.

Review copy provided by Get Red PR.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
21 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2014 4:45 am

    I also find it distressing when a child who is sensitive has to carry such a heavy load. The story sounds very good though.

  2. July 10, 2014 6:18 am

    Sounds depressing!

  3. July 10, 2014 9:48 am

    Wow. This sounds like a really good though sad read.

  4. July 10, 2014 9:58 am

    My mood can influence how much I enjoy a book. This sounds like a very sad book but the writing would keep one reading.

  5. lisaalmedasumner permalink
    July 10, 2014 10:59 am

    Wow. This sounds good–gorgeous writing is always a selling point with me. I will probably get this title.

  6. July 10, 2014 12:25 pm

    Timing really is important for books like this… sounds like a worthwhile read.

  7. bookingmama permalink
    July 10, 2014 3:36 pm

    I appreciated this one too but something (not sure what) kept me from loving it.

  8. July 10, 2014 4:45 pm

    Mining. i’ve read a few reviews centered around mining lately. Coincidence?
    As for the injury to the father… it’s always hard, even in real life when an injury prevents you from making ends meet.

  9. July 10, 2014 4:47 pm

    Maybe, I do not know

  10. July 10, 2014 4:52 pm

    My heart aches for Brigid just reading your review. This sounds really good.

  11. Patty permalink
    July 10, 2014 5:59 pm

    I liked this book so much but it truly was a heartbreaker!

  12. July 10, 2014 7:25 pm

    This isn’t something I would normally gravitate to, but it does sound interesting.

  13. July 10, 2014 9:13 pm

    I don’t think I’ll get to this one, but it’s good to hear about it. Yours is the first mention of it that I’ve noticed.

  14. July 10, 2014 9:46 pm

    Thanks for the review! It’s always good to hear someone else’s opinion and I will certainly keep it in mind.
    All the best,

  15. July 11, 2014 1:46 am

    I don’t typically go for this type of story, but it does make me wonder what the secrets of the family are.

  16. July 11, 2014 2:41 pm

    This one sounds thought-provoking and one that would be good for a book group or discussion. I need to look into it.

    2 Kids and Tired Books

  17. July 11, 2014 6:41 pm

    This sounds like the kind of book I would really like … too bad it wasn’t love for you.

  18. July 11, 2014 8:28 pm

    I haven’t heard too much about this book before, but your review makes me think I would like it.

  19. July 11, 2014 11:26 pm

    Ah. I read this one too. I found the setting extremely interesting, the characters a bit less so. I’m glad I read it, but it’s not one I expect to revisit.

  20. July 12, 2014 10:31 pm

    I haven’t heard of this one yet. The cover is lovely. if this one has a good ending then I would probably like it but if it’s a more realistic ending then I will probably avoid it. . .can you go ahead and tell us the ending so I can decide if I should read it 😉

  21. July 18, 2014 11:10 pm

    New to me. I would have to be in the right mood to read something as sad as this, so I do think timing can make a difference.

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