Sister Mine [NOOK Book]

Overview

Shae-Lynn Penrose drives a cab in a town where no one needs a cab—but plenty of people need rides. A former police officer with a closet full of miniskirts, a recklessly sharp tongue, and a tendency to deal with men by either beating them up or taking them to bed, she has spent years carving out a life for herself and her son in Jolly Mount, Pennsylvania, the tiny coal-mining town where she grew up.

Two years ago, five of Shae-Lynn’s miner ...
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Sister Mine

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Overview

Shae-Lynn Penrose drives a cab in a town where no one needs a cab—but plenty of people need rides. A former police officer with a closet full of miniskirts, a recklessly sharp tongue, and a tendency to deal with men by either beating them up or taking them to bed, she has spent years carving out a life for herself and her son in Jolly Mount, Pennsylvania, the tiny coal-mining town where she grew up.

Two years ago, five of Shae-Lynn’s miner friends were catapulted to media stardom when they were rescued after surviving four days trapped in a mine. As the men struggle to come to terms with the nightmarish memories of their ordeal, along with the fallout of their short- lived celebrity, Shae-Lynn finds herself facing harsh realities and reliving bad dreams of her own, including her relationship with her brutal father, her conflicted passion for one of the miners, and the hidden identity of the man who fathered her son.

When the younger sister she thought was dead arrives on her doorstep, followed closely by a gun-wielding Russian gangster, a shady New York lawyer, and a desperate Connecticut housewife, Shae-Lynn is forced to grapple with the horrible truth she discovers about the life her sister’s been living, and with one ominous question: Will her return result in a monstrous act of greed or one of sacrifice?

Tawni O’Dell’s trademark blend of black humor, tenderness, and a keen sense of place is evident once again as Shae-Lynn takes on past demons and all-too-present dangers.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

O'Dell, whose debut, Back Roads(2000), was an Oprah pick, returns with a terrific third novel set in a Pennsylvania coal country of broken families, altercations and smalltown coping. Policewoman-turned-cabbie Shae-Lynn Penrose, a little over 40 and back in Jolly Mount after a rent-a-cop stint in Washington, D.C., raised son Clay (24 and the town deputy) on her own. For the past 18 years, she has believed that her sister, Shannon, was killed by their abusive father while Shae-Lynn was at college. (Their mother died of complications after giving birth to Shannon; their father was killed much later in a mine explosion.) When a New York lawyer turns up asking for Shannon Penrose, whom he seems to have seen recently, Shae-Lynn is shocked; when Shannon herself suddenly turns up, very pregnant, Shae-Lynn's reaction is primal and tactile. As O'Dell slowly unspools Shannon's very-much-of-her-own-doing predicament, O'Dell demonstrates her mastery of set-piece dialogue, reeling off stingingly acute encounters that are as funny as they can be crushingly sad. Ne'er-do-well Choker Simms (and his two kids, Fanci and Kenny), lawyer Gerald Kozlowski, mine owner Cam Jack, Shae-Lynn's nonboyfriend E.J., Shannon's sort-of-boyfriend Dmitri and others are all wonderfully drawn through Shae-Lynn's keen observations. Family saga O'Dell-style crackles with conflict and a deep understanding of the complications and burdens that follow attachment, sex, love and kinship. (Mar.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster ride with this latest from O'Dell (Coal Run). The author's focus is Jolly Mount, a small Pennsylvania coal-mining town, but abuse and baby-selling figure into the mix. Years ago, adult siblings Shae-Lynn and Shannon escaped their abusive widowed father: single mother Shae-Lynn took a detour, with young son in tow, and did a six-year stint as a Washington, DC, police officer; younger sister Shannon, however, vanished one day and never resurfaced. Feisty Shae-Lynn, now a cab driver back in Jolly Mount, has long theorized about Shannon's whereabouts. So when a variety of shady sorts begins popping up in Jolly Mount searching for Shannon, Shae-Lynn's suspicions are naturally aroused. O'Dell successfully combines the story of negligent coal-mine owners and unfortunate, disabled, or dead miners with Shae-Lynn's own troubled past in this intense, racy, raucous, and often hilarious novel. Although she occasionally includes some jarring topics that veer toward the sentimental, she also packs this gripping tale with loads of action, intrigue, and suspense. Strongly recommended for all public library collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/15/06; O'Dell's Back Roadswas a 2000 Oprah's Book Club pick.—Ed.]
—Andrea Tarr
Kirkus Reviews
From Oprah Book Club alum O'Dell (Back Roads, 2000, etc.), the far-fetched tale of a cab driver whose long-lost sister turns out to be a surrogate-mother-for-hire. Narrator Shae-Lynn Penrose, the author's first female protagonist, is a ballsy, sassy delight, but the story she tells verges on ridiculous. Shae-Lynn's sister Shannon turns up after 18 years, pregnant with her tenth baby and planning, as usual, to sell it to a wealthy couple. Shannon has run out on the sleazy New York lawyer who sets up the adoptions because she's made her own deal with a Connecticut woman and doesn't want to share the money. Both of these caricatures come looking for her in Centresburg, the Penroses' hard-pressed hometown in Pennsylvania coal country; so does an equally cartoonish Russian gangster, the buddy of another guy Shannon double-crossed. How did Shae-Lynn's sister get to be so callous? The answer lies in the girls' miserable childhood with a widowed father so brutal that when Shannon disappeared, her sister assumed he'd killed her. Shae-Lynn has blunt, bracing things to say about the complicity of their blue-collar community, which disapproved of Dad beating his daughters but did nothing to stop him; she saw lots of domestic abuse swept under the rug during her years as a police officer in Centresburg. Dad wasn't the only brutal coalminer, and even good men like Shae-Lynn's beloved friend E.J., who survived a cave-in two years ago, bear the physical and psychic wounds inflicted by their back-breaking profession. O'Dell's unsentimental, loving depiction of working-class life is as moving as ever. Also familiar, unfortunately, is her weakness for lurid plotting, which here includes the heavilyforeshadowed exposure of the man who fathered Shae-Lynn's illegitimate baby and the mustache-twirling cynicism with which he reveals his base nature to their horrified adult son. Many wonderful scenes bear witness for people too often left voiceless in American literature, but coming on the heels of the majestic, passionate Coal Run (2004), this undisciplined novel is a disappointment.
From the Publisher
“Tawni O’Dell’s energy bursts off the page. Sister Mine is one of those novels that insist on being read, front to back, as fast as possible.”
Boston Globe

“Bitterly poignant in places, it’s also a rollicking good read — and Shae-Lynn’s richly drawn character resonates long after her final wisecrack.”
— People

Sister Mine delivers a luxurious read, a novel worthy of the literary equivalent of a Grammy or an Oscar. This is a novel for people who devour good writing and craft-intensive storytelling, who savor the haven, both safe and fraught with danger, of a world in which fiction becomes the kind of truth that sets you free. Or, at the very least, makes you laugh and think and wish you’d discovered Tawni O’Dell before now.”
Portland Oregonian

“The strength of O’Dell’s narrative is that she lets her characters tell the story. There is much to recommend. Shae-Lynn’s voice is entrancing in its honesty, and O’Dell’s ability to continue to freshly capture her mining communities is impressive… a worthy read.”
Denver Post

Sister Mine is packed with flawed characters formed by violence and neglect who quickly become embedded in the reader’s heart. O’Dell sketches her characters with telling details and cop-shop crackling dialogue..Amid chick lit and knit lit and Brit lit, Sister Mine rates as true-grit lit.”
— USA Today

“O’Dell hits her stride here; one hopes this is not the last we’ll hear from her punch packing, pink Stetson-wearing heroine.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Sister Mine is a page turner for lots of reasons that take you turn by turn. You become mesmerized by the characters, the crackling dialogue, the description of the skin of a miner looking as if pencil point have lodged beneath it, the pathos of good people facing futures that are cetain to be hard and cheap and yet doing so with grace and optimism and whip smart banter. And it’s spot-on for in its depiction of a coal mining town.”
Lexington Herald Leader

“Dark, funny, and very Elmore Leonard in its way.”
Cincinnati Enquirer

“This is a masterfully unfolded, absolutely engrossing story as smart and sassy as it is wise…A knockout.”
Booklist, starred review

“With genuine, fully developed characters and abundant humor, it's easy to fall into this exceptional story and never want to leave.”
Publishers Weekly, galley talk column

“Family saga O’Dell-style crackles with conflict and a deep understanding of the complications and burdens that follow attachment, sex, love and kinship.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Tawni O’Dell is a great American storyteller. Sister Mine is hilarious and poignant; the details glitter like King Coal from a writer who knows it well.”
—Adriana Trigiani, author of Home to Big Stone Gap

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307393593
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Publication date: 3/13/2007
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 239,693
  • File size: 669 KB

Meet the Author

Tawni O’Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of Coal Run and Back Roads, which was also an Oprah’s Book Club selection. She lives in Pennsylvania with her two children and her husband, literary translator Bernard Cohen.

For more information about the author, visit www.tawniodell.com.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One





I drive a cab in a town where no one needs a cab but plenty of people need rides. I've been paid with casseroles, lip gloss, plumbing advice, beer, prayers for my immortal soul, and promises to mow my yard, but this is the first time I've ever been offered something living.

The girl's around eleven or twelve. About twenty years too soon, she already possesses the self-centered, self-destructive attitude of a survivor of a string of bad relationships, failed diets, a drinking problem, and the realization that life is just a bunch of confusing, painful stuff that fills up the time between your favorite TV shows.

Her outfit looks like it's been picked out by a pedophile with a penchant for banging hillbilly girls, but more than likely her mom bought it for her. She's dressed in a pair of tight denim shorts with eyelet trim, a pair of clear plastic platform sandals encrusted in silver glitter, and a skimpy halter made from red bandanna material. Her exposed midriff sports a unicorn tattoo which I hope is water soluble.

She wants a ride from Jolly Mount to the mall and wants to pay for it with her four-year-old brother.

"I'm not doing this for my health," I explain to her as I put the nozzle back into the gas pump. "This is my job. I have to make a living. I can't pay my mortgage or my heating bill with a toddler."

"You could sell him," she suggests.

"That's against the law."

"The law won't ever find out."

I screw my gas cap back on. She watches me while she stands with all her weight positioned on one skinny leg, one nonexistent hip thrust out with her hand resting on it, the bent angle and sharp point of her elbow making an almost perfect triangle of bony flesh against the yellow custom paint job of my Subaru Outback.

Her other hand holds the hand of her brother, not tightly but not casually either, the way a daisy holds on to its petals.

"Maybe he doesn't want to be sold," I tell her. "Maybe he wants to stay here."

"Then you could keep him. He can't do much now but when he gets older he could be like a slave for you."

I look down at the little guy. The spray of freckles across his nose and the hand-me-down jeans with rips in the knees and the cuffs rolled up several times remind me of my own son, Clay, when he was that age.

He turns twenty-four today. I have to remember to give him a call later. I don't make a big deal over his birthday now that he's grown. I don't let myself get emotional either, since the emotions surrounding his birth have always left me feeling torn up inside. I guess that's what happens when the best thing in your life is the result of the worst mistake of your life.

I wasn't all that much older than this girl standing in front of me now when my dad dropped me off at the entrance of the Centresburg Hospital, already two hours into my contractions, and told me to call him when I was "done."

Shannon was with us, sitting in the cab of the pickup crushed between the enormous globe of her sister's belly and the silent, hulking presence of our coal miner father who'd been pulled out of the damp, black earth midway through his shift in answer to my emergency call. Since he was going right back to work, he hadn't bothered to clean up or change out of his dirty coveralls. His face and hands were coated with rock dust: the crushed limestone sprayed inside mines to control the combustible coal dust. It gave his skin a bluish-white pallor, like someone who'd been frozen solid and dug out of a snowdrift.

Shannon was this girl's age and full of the same sort of generalized contempt and misplaced confidence in her ability to not care about anything as long as she told herself nothing was worth caring about, but I remember she looked worried that day as I climbed down out of the truck wincing and breathing funny and cradling the baby still inside me. I couldn't tell if she was afraid for me or afraid for herself because she was going home with dad alone.

"I don't believe in slavery," I tell the girl. "Besides, maybe he wants to stay with you."

"I don't think so."

"I think he's pretty attached to you."

We both look at the boy this time. He doesn't have the exuberance of most children his age. He hasn't been fidgeting or whining or trying to get away. He stares back at us with the endlessly patient gaze of a sheep waiting at the gate to be let out or let in.

"But he ain't mine. He's my mom's," she says.

"He doesn't belong to you or your mom."

I walk around to the driver's side of my car. They follow me.

"He's not a dog. He's a person. You can't own another person. Although another person can own you. You'll learn about that when you start dating."

"I already date."

"Okay, enough." I hold up my hands in a sign of defeat. "This is more information than I need. If you don't have any money, what else do you have?"

She opens up her grimy purse, pink with a jeweled kitten on it. I would have killed for a purse like that when I was her age although I never would have taken it outside the house for fear E.J. or some of the other guys would have made fun of me for being a sissy.

She pokes through the meager contents with the tips of her fingers, which are polished in chipped purple: a cracked pink plastic Barbie wallet, a lipstick, a comb, a piece of notebook paper folded into a small square, a lighter shaped like a pig, and a handful of what looks like ordinary gravel.

She gestures with her head toward the boy.

"Kenny collects rocks."

I take the lighter and flick it on. The flames come out the pig's nose.

"The lighter," I state.

"No way. I love that lighter. I just stole . . . I just bought it with my own money inside."

"No lighter, no ride."

It's her turn to size me up. She looks me over. I wonder what she thinks about my outfit, if she's being more generous than I was with hers. Ancient scuffed Frye harness boots, long bare legs, a camouflage miniskirt, olive drab tank top, cheap drugstore sunglasses, and a pink Stetson that Clay gave me two years ago as a Mother's Day gag gift that I was never supposed to wear: looks like she was dressed by a Vietnam vet with a penchant for banging middle-aged cowgirls.

Her gaze leaves me and runs over the car. jolly mount cab is written on both sides but about a month ago, someone blacked out jolly and cab on the driver's side door and added the word me.

It now reads mount me.

I don't have any idea who the vandal is. I'm sure it was nothing personal. I've even taken my time getting it fixed. I tell myself it's because I don't have the money, but part of the reason is simple admiration and encouragement for the creative thought process behind it.

When E.J. and I were in sixth grade and the Union Hall was still standing and hosting community events, a square dancing club called The Naughty Pines came to town to put on an exhibition. E.J. and I switched two letters and the next day the marquee read tonight only: the naughty penis.

We thought we were the two most brilliant people alive.

It was inevitable that we would be caught, since we bragged openly about what we had done. Eventually word spread throughout the school, and we were sent to the principal's office. I never did understand why our teachers were allowed to become involved, since the act didn't occur on school property or during school hours, but I guess they believed that, since I didn't have a mom to teach me right from wrong, they were responsible for disciplining me.

Apparently, I've passed the girl's inspection because she hands me the lighter and opens the back door.

My cell rings.

"Jolly Mount Cab," I answer.

"I need a cab to drive me from Harrisburg to Jolly Mount," a man's voice greets me. "There's not a single cab company here that will do it. One of the drivers I spoke to recommended you."

"What'd he say?"

"He said he thought you'd take the job."

"No, that's not what I mean. What'd he say about me?"

"He said he thought you'd take the job," he repeats.

The girl crawls inside the car and motions for her brother to follow. Once he's seated beside her she makes him fasten his seat belt but doesn't put on her own.

"What'd he really say about me?" I ask him.

A brief silence.

"He said you're attractive, although he didn't use the word 'attractive,' but I think that was the point he was trying to make."

"Does that make you more eager to have me drive you?"

"I doubt I'd be interested in you in that way."

"Why not? Are you gay? Faithful? Celibate? Impotent?"

"Picky."

"Fair enough," I say.

I'm trying to figure him out. His manner of speaking sounds almost rehearsed. There's not the slightest trace of any kind of a regional accent in his voice; he enunciates too well, and he uses very little inflection. He talks rapidly but he's also fond of dramatic pauses. He's sort of a cross between Captain Kirk and the guy who did the English voice-overs for all the old Kung Fu movies.

My guess is he grew up talking one way and puts a lot of effort into not talking that way anymore.

"Where are you exactly?" I ask him.

"I'm here at this ridiculous, godforsaken excuse for an airport."

"Harrisburg International?"

"International? You can't even fly to New York from here."

"That's true, but there's one flight to Canada."

Another silence.

"Can you pick me up or not?"

"Yeah. Sure. I can pick you up. You realize it's a two-hour drive?"

"Yes, I do. The other cab drivers enlightened me. Is it also true that there are no hotels in Jolly Mount?"

"The nearest motel would be in Centresburg, about thirty miles from here."

"Unbelievable."

"What's your name, sir?"

"Why do you need to know?"

"Because I'm about to invest four hours of my life and sixty dollars worth of gas on the assumption that you're going to be there when I show up. The least you can do in return is tell me your name."

He doesn't answer.

"Fine. I'll just call you Sparky."

"Gerald," he says sharply. "Gerald Kozlowski."

He hangs up.

I click my phone shut happily. A fare from the airport. Big bucks.

Then I notice the two little ones in my back seat.

"Sorry, kids," I tell them while opening the door and motioning for them to get out. "There's been a change in plans. I can't take you to the mall after all."

Kenny does what he's told. The girl glares at me.

"Why the hell not?"

"It was a bad idea to begin with, now that I think about it. If I take you to the mall then you're going to be stranded at the mall. How will you get home?"

She gets out and slams the door. She doesn't answer my question.

"Where is home anyway?" I keep after her. "And what are you doing out by yourself in the middle of town on a Saturday morning?"

"It ain't none of your business where our home is and we can be wherever we want to be. It's a free country."

"So I've been told."

She joins Kenny and takes up a stance next to him with her hands jabbed back on her hips. I notice her gaze flicker toward a red Radio Flyer wagon parked next to the front door of the convenience store.

"Well, I guess you can't live too far away if you pulled Kenny in a wagon," I comment. "Where are your parents?"

All I get from her in reply is hostile silence and sharp elbows.

Kenny gives me the sheep stare.

"Who are your parents?"

Nothing.

"Can I at least know your name?"

She thinks about it.

"Fanci."

I know I've heard the name before. It's unusual enough that it sticks out in my mind, although having an adjective or noun for a name that conjures up images of pretty things isn't that strange around here. I went to school with a Taffeta Tate and a Sparkle Wisniewski. Clay briefly dated a girl named Dainty Frost who had a sister named Lacey.

"What about a last name?" I ask.

"Simms."

"Is your dad Choker Simms?"

"Yeah."

"Well, that explains a lot," I say under my breath.

"Do you know him?" she asks me.

"Yes, I do."

"You probably heard bad things about him because he was in jail but none of it's true. He was set up by a lady cop who had the hots for him and decided to ruin his life when he spurned her."

I'm so stunned by this explanation I laugh out loud.

"'Spurned'?" I practically choke on the word.

"You know. Spurned. When somebody tells you they don't love you."

"Your dad . . . ," I start to say, then stop as I look down into their little faces, hers daring me to say anything bad about their father so she can defend him and his full of genuine curiosity.

She holds out her hand, palm up.

"Gimme my lighter back."

I give it to her.

She returns it to her purse, grabs Kenny by the forearm, and stalks off.

it takes all of two minutes for me to drive through downtown Jolly Mount. Aside from the Snappy's gas station and convenience store, there's a Subway, three bars, one church, a drive-thru branch of a bank, a red brick post office, and a two-story abandoned corner building that used to house a five-and-dime store, and an insurance agency.

A corridor of tall, thin row homes, identical except for the amount of color and care spent on them, forms the outlying border. There's a house of flaking bubblegum pink, one of pale turquoise, one a fading canary yellow, and two painted a mint green--all the colors of a bucket of sidewalk chalk interspersed between the traditional whites and tans. Some are well tended; others appear to be uninhabited except for the lawn ornaments, and the limp curtains hanging at lopsided angles behind windows smoky with age and grime.

I take the most direct route to the interstate even though I prefer driving the forsaken, twisting side roads where the worn-down, wooded mountains lie on all sides of me like the backs of slumbering giants.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Reading Group Guide

1. Tawni O’Dell has populated Jolly Mount with some wonderful, fully fleshed characters: swearing, miniskirt-wearing Shae-Lynn; rugged and quiet E.J.; whiskey-drinking, one-legged Jimmy; delightfully precocious Fanci and her little brother, Kenny, just to name a few. Who was your favorite character and why?

2. What was your first impression of E.J.? Did your opinion of him change over the course of the book? If so, how and why?

3. Shae-Lynn treasures a series of National Geographic books that were given to her by Jimmy and Isabel. There seem to be particular photographs that she revisits time and again. What is their significance to her?

4. The Penrose house was not a happy place in which to grow up. And while their neighbors were good to the girls, no one ever stepped in and confronted their father on their behalf. “Ostracism is the only way people around here deal with unsavory family situations, and if it doesn’t cause the families to change, everyone washes their hands of them.” (page 174) Does this seem to be an accurate portrayal of how things are handled in Jolly Mount? Is Shae-Lynn’s involvement with Fanci and Kenny a conscious protest of the status quo or simply the only thing Shae-Lynn knows to do?

5. Shae-Lynn says “a mother’s love is not warm and cuddly like a soft blanket, as it’s popularly portrayed. It’s a fierce, rabid love, like having a mad dog living inside you all the time.” (page 332) Do you agree with her assessment of motherly love?

6. Shae-Lynn believes that “a man spends his whole life trying to prove his worth to others. A woman spends her lifetrying to prove her worth to herself.” (page 220) Discuss the implications of this statement, especially as they apply to both Shae-Lynn and Shannon. Do you agree with Shae-Lynn?

7. E.J. says that the only thing Shae-Lynn is good at is fighting. (page 92) Much of what we see her do seems to prove him right. So how did Shae-Lynn manage to raise such a level-headed, responsible son?

8. Was Shae-Lynn right to keep Clay’s father’s identity a secret all those years?

9. Did Shannon come back to Jolly Mount with the intention of leaving her baby with Shae-Lynn?

10. Do you think Shannon would have been a different person had her mother been alive to raise her? Do you think all of her problems stem from growing up without a mother? Why or why not?

11. Through the course of the novel, Shae-Lynn begins to have trouble getting access to the safe room she imagines for herself. At one point, she becomes startled by the appearance of a face at the window of her safe room. After she surrenders to her physical desire for E.J., she says “for the first time I see what the purpose of my furnished soul has become, no longer to shelter me from monsters but to help me cope with the emptiness of a ransacked heart. . . . I know now it was [E.J.’s] face at my window, not trying to get in but telling me it’s time to come out.” (pages 320—321) Discuss this revelation and its impact on Shae-Lynn and her relationship with E.J.

12. After sleeping with E.J. for the first time, Shae-Lynn has a disturbing dream, described on page 327. What do you think it means?

13. What do you think of the mining company’s tradition of giving the mines women’s names? How does it change your view of the mines themselves and the men who work them?

14. The Jolly Mount Five decide to drop their lawsuit against Cam Jack so that the mines will remain open and continue to provide employment for the men of their town. Do you agree with their decision? Do you think there might have been another option that could have saved the mines and also taken a stand against Cam Jack? Which do you believe was more important: keeping the mines open or holding Cam Jack accountable for their poor maintenance?

15. It’s six months after the novel ends . . . where do you see the characters? Are E.J. and Shae-Lynn together? Has Shannon been heard from again? Is Cam Jack alive? Is life the same in Jolly Mount?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    great book again from Tawni ODell!

    She is a fabulous writer! It is so engrossing. She writes in a way to make you feel as though you are part of the coal mining community! her love of the coal miners and their families shows!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2008

    Not as good as her other books

    I agree with one of the reviews here. I just finished Sister Mine and do not think it was near as good as her 1st 2 novels, Coal Run and BackRaods. The perspective about life as a coal miner was well written, but the story line and main characters lacked 'something' that she usually has in her other books. I didn't feel as connected to the heroine and the sister lacked character as well. I couldn't relate with either character. The ending was boring and I was left with a feeling of disappointment after the time invested in reading. I kept going, only because I truly love this author's prior works and was hoping it would turn-around, but it didn't.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    'A VOICE OF HONEY WITH A DASH OF VODKA'

    Readers of Back Roads (an Oprah pick) and Coal Run well know that Tawni O'Dell is an author who grabs you from the get-go and doesn't let go until the final word. She does it again with Sister Mine. Who could stop listening after hearing: 'I drive a cab in a town where no one needs a cab but plenty of people need rides. I've been paid with casseroles, lip gloss, plumbing advice, beer, prayers for my immortal soul, and promises to mow my yard, but this is the first time I've ever been offered something living.' Those words are spoken by Shae-Lynn Penrose, a former Washington, D.C. police woman who has returned to the town where she grew up - not easily, we might add. She was a young single mother who had to care for an infant, protect herself from an abusive father, and tend to an arbitrary sister, Shannon. Now, she's 40 and back in Jolly Mount, a dot on the map in Pennsylvania coal country. When Shae-Lynn left Jolly Mount for Washington she had all she could do to look after her son. There was no choice but to leave Shannon with their father. Two years later the girl disappeared. At this point in time, so many years later, Shae-Lynn believes her sister is dead - that is until she reappears. Shannon is 18 years older, quite pregnant, and being pursued by a motley group including a Russian thug, a lawyer, and an eastern housewife. Without the reappearance of her younger sister and the retinue she brings, Shae-Lynn already has a lot on her plate. Some two years earlier five of her miner friends had been trapped below ground for four days. Although time has past the effects of this near tragedy have not. Then, of course, there's a love interest - or is there? Tawni O'Dell tells a great story with a cast headed by a spunky pink Stetson wearing heroine. Don't miss it - especially as read by actress Renee Raudman who has been identified as 'A voice of honey with a dash of vodka' - quite so. Her voice can tend to huskiness, very pleasantly, and she gives Shae-Lynn the voice of one who has seen everything, is tough yet gentle. Good listening! - Gail Cooke

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A TERRIFIC TALE BY A FIRST-RATE STORY TELLER

    Readers of Back Roads (an Oprah pick) and Coal Run well know that Tawni O'Dell is an author who grabs you from the get-go and doesn't let go until the final word. She does it again with Sister Mine. Who could stop listening after hearing: 'I drive a cab in a town where no one needs a cab but plenty of people need rides. I've been paid with casseroles, lip gloss, plumbing advice, beer, prayers for my immortal soul, and promises to mow my yard, but this is the first time I've ever been offered something living.' Those words are spoken by Shae-Lynn Penrose, a former Washington, D.C. police woman who has returned to the town where she grew up - not easily, we might add. She was a young single mother who had to care for an infant, protect herself from an abusive father, and tend to an arbitrary sister, Shannon. Now, she's 40 and back in Jolly Mount, a dot on the map in Pennsylvania coal country. When Shae-Lynn left Jolly Mount for Washington she had all she could do to look after her son. There was no choice but to leave Shannon with their father. Two years later the girl disappeared. At this point in time, so many years later, Shae-Lynn believes her sister is dead - that is until she reappears. Shannon is 18 years older, quite pregnant, and being pursued by a motley group including a Russian thug, a lawyer, and an eastern housewife. Without the reappearance of her younger sister and the retinue she brings, Shae-Lynn already has a lot on her plate. Some two years earlier five of her miner friends had been trapped below ground for four days. Although time has past the effects of this near tragedy have not. Then, of course, there's a love interest - or is there? Tawni O'Dell tells a great story with a cast headed by a spunky pink Stetson wearing heroine. Don't miss it! - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2007

    Don't Bother ..

    This novel was way too long and prone to tangents that led me to wonder if the author had forgot the story line all together. I read Tawni O'Dells two other books: Back Roads and Coal Run and loved them from start to finish. This novel had a boring and predictable ending that I could have done a better job writing. I am sorry to say this was not her best work but I pray she can pull off another novel that is more candid than corny .

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    Posted March 8, 2011

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    Posted February 18, 2010

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    Posted April 27, 2009

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    Posted January 20, 2011

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    Posted January 23, 2009

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