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The Burning by J.P. Seewald
Review by Mel Jacob
Annorlunda Books Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781944354268
Date: 17 October 2017 List Price $8.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Publisher's Book Page / Show Official Info /

George Ferris operates a small garage in a small Pennsylvania coal town that has fallen on hard times. He and his family live in their own home and manage to get by. Then, disaster strikes and George's gas station and garage are declared unsafe because of a fire in a coal vein below his garage.

With his business gone, he still has a loan to pay. Meanwhile, his daughter's asthma is growing worse. After a particularly severe attack, she is hospitalized. She recovers but back home she still has trouble breathing.

The coal company offers to buy people out but only if everyone in an area covering the town and its surrounding homes agrees to sell. However, those like his brother Larry who live in fine new homes a bit removed from the town don't want to sell, especially because they believe the remuneration is insufficient. Furious at his brother for refusing to sell, he argues with his wife about her earlier romantic relationship with Larry.

The novel highlights an important aspect of coal mining and doesn't sugar-coat the problems. Seewald portrays the human cost of such tragedies through George and his family. She also sets brother against brother as George fight to keep his family safe and provide for them. There are no easy answers yet she provides a satisfying realistic, if not the happiest, ending,

Seewald is the author of a number of mysteries including the Kim Reynolds Mysteries, a Georgian romance, YA books, and short stories.

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