The Well and the Mine

The Well and the Mine

4.0 79
by Gin Phillips
     
 

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A novel of warmth and true feeling, The Well and the Mine explores the value of community, charity, family, and hope that we can give each other during a time of hardship.

In a small Alabama coal-mining town during the summer of 1931, nine-year-old Tess Moore sits on her back porch and watches a woman toss a baby into her family’s well without a word

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Overview

A novel of warmth and true feeling, The Well and the Mine explores the value of community, charity, family, and hope that we can give each other during a time of hardship.

In a small Alabama coal-mining town during the summer of 1931, nine-year-old Tess Moore sits on her back porch and watches a woman toss a baby into her family’s well without a word. This shocking act of violence sets in motion a chain of events that forces Tess and her older sister Virgie to look beyond their own door and learn the value of kindness and lending a helping hand. As Tess and Virgie try to solve the mystery of the well, an accident puts their seven-year-old brother’s life in danger, forcing the Moore family to come to a new understanding of the power of love and compassion.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
"After she threw the baby in, nobody believed me for the longest time. But I kept hearing the splash." So begins The Well and the Mine, a magnificent debut novel set in 1930s Alabama. The place is Carbon Hill, a small coal-mining community, in the midst of the Depression. The Moore family, a loving brood of five, is better off than most, generous to their less fortunate neighbors. But darkness arrives at their doorstep when a mysterious woman throws a baby down the Moores' well, and the story slowly unfolds, through the alternating voices of nine-year-old Tess (who witnessed the crime); her older sister, Virgie; her brother, Jack; and her parents, Albert and Leta.

The mystery of the baby and why the Moores' well was the chosen location for its disposal is the catalyst of this intimate novel -- the splash whose ripples widen to reveal a community divided by race and class. The revelation of this shadowy side of life in Carbon Hill is leavened by the awakening conscience of a family that survives adversity with pluck and determination. In her first novel, Phillips has found beauty, depth, and the promise of salvation in one strong Southern clan. (Summer 2008 Selection)
Publishers Weekly

A tight-knit miner's family struggles against poverty and racism in Phillips's evocative first novel, set in Depression-era Alabama. Throughout, she moves skillfully between the points of view of miner father Albert, hard-working mother Leta, young daughter Tess and teenage daughter Virgie, and small son Jack. They see men who are frequently incapacitated or killed by accidents in the local mines; neighbors live off what they can grow on their patch of land; and blacks like Albert's fellow miner and friend Jonah are segregated in another part of Carbon Hill-and often hauled off to jail arbitrarily. When Tess witnesses a woman throwing a baby into their well, no one believes her until the dead child is found, and few are shocked. Tess, hounded by nightmares, and Virgie, on the cusp of womanhood and resistant to the thought of an early marriage to the local boys who court her, begin making inquiries of their own, visiting wives who've recently had babies and learning way more than they imagined. With a wisp of suspense, Phillips fully enters the lives of her honorable characters and brings them vibrantly to the page. (Mar.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594484490
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/08/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
472,275
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Gin Phillips lives in Birmingham, Alabama. The Well and the Mine is her first novel.

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The Well and the Mine 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 79 reviews.
TyBDo More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was an OK book. Not really that great. The ending was pretty lame, and the book kept straying off-topic. Also, the switching from character to character got a little confusing from time to time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gin Phillips deserves every ounce of attention she receives for The Well and the Mine. This is a breathtaking first novel. Phillips paces the story in perfect rhythm with the lives of these deceivingly simple characters. Her research into the everyday details of 1931 rural Alabama is matched only by her deft craftsmanship and pitch-perfect voices. The plot here (which is very compelling) moves at the pace of the river, slowly unraveling each member of this vividly rendered family into fully realized human beings, wrought with their own loves and hopes and worries and fears. We face heightened racism, poverty, and suspicion in Carbon Hill, Alabama, but we also witness the irresistible goodness of a devoted family holding each day to a standard long lost in modern culture. Late in the novel, the youngest child in the Moore family says, â¿¿Iâ¿¿d listened to Pop good enough to make his story mine.â¿ Phillips has listened well, very well, and while her story navigates a gulf of southern traditions, this gorgeously complicated novel is entirely her own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most amazing book Ive ever read! Ive probably read this around 15 times now, honestly. Favorite book growing up, too. The charecters are so REALISTIC AND LURING. WORD OF ADVICE: GET THE BOOK.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's no wonder this book is getting huge buzz--it's a fantastic read that would appeal to anyone who loves Southern literature from the work of Fannie Flagg to Flannery O'Connor's from Anne Rivers Siddon's books to William Faulkner novels. Really, this book appeals to anyone who loves a good story, rendered well. Phillips writing is somehow simultaneously fluid and hard-edged, and she knows her characters well enough to make their lives feel real to readers. This is one of the best books I've read in 2008. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A gritty true to life account of life at that time period in a coal town.
downacountryroad More than 1 year ago
I don't know why anyone wouldn't give this book a 5-star rating! The writing is fascinating and I love it that she wrote it in different perspectives of each character involved, especially the little girls persepective. Phillips carefully thought out this novel. The depiction of life during the depression years and in a mining town in the south is unique. When you think of miners, you think of West Virginia, so this book gives a unique look at values and subjects uncomfortable to talk about, that were/are prevalent in the south, not to mention how it was to be poor in the south. Living near this area in the north half of Alabama, has given me insight on the culture as it was back then, and how it translates to now. Don't let me forget to mention the mystery involved-- it keeps you reading. It's nearly like finding out in the end what happens in To Kill a Mockingbird.--yes it's that good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful look at the Southern poor during the depression. Family, love, mystery and a very well written, descriptive narrative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the novel, The Well and the Mine, author Gin Phillips explores the value of community, family, hope and determination during times of hardships. The setting of Phillips’s first novel takes place in a small coal mining town of Alabama in the year of 1931. Written in third person omniscient, Phillips allows readers to see the thoughts, emotions, hopes and dreams of each member of the Moore family. In using this style of writing, Phillips is able to bring her characters to life in a manner that makes each person unique and part of our lives in no time at all. Parents, Albert and Leta are hard working people who have faced many trials and tribulations as they struggle to make ends meet in times of shortage. Wanting nothing but a better life for their three young children, Virgie who is fifteen, Tess age nine, and young Jack who is only seven, the Moore’s are a prime example of how the human race can provide compassion to those they love. The novel begins with Tess witnessing a woman toss a baby into their family well and run away. The town is soon consumed with this horrific crime, but with no leads as to who it was, Tess and Virgie begin conducting their own investigation which leads to a surprising turn of events. Along the way the characters all face internal and external problems of their own as the children begin to grow up and explore who they really are and what they want to do in life. Readers will suffer along with Virgie as she begins to mature and faces the problems of love. Readers will cheer Tess on as she takes a stand for what she believes in and stays true to her values. Readers will hold their breath when Jack is nearly killed by a hit and run truck while walking to a baseball park. Most of all, readers will encourage Albert and Leta as they face economic hardships—performing back breaking work at the coal mines, striving to provide a stable home and positive life lessons to their children. The setting of The Well and the Mine also provides insight into the world of racism that existed during 1931 in the Deep South and how it affected people of all ages, races, and class systems. We also see firsthand how different levels of poverty were present despite skin color and sex. Life was not easy for anyone; no member of the community was left untouched by poverty’s hand. Gin Phillips’s attention to detail brings her novel to life. Readers will remember the characters long after they have finished and closed the book. Her style of writing transports you into the plot itself and the theme of love and family is evident on every page. Phillips’s writing technique focuses on symbolism and metaphors that will leave the reader thinking and questioning aspects of their own life.
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Very well written. Sentences so beautiful, it could move you to tears.
Nitro23 More than 1 year ago
My bookclub picked this book. It sounded interesting, but it was pretty boring. I did not like how the author split up the characters and the ending was very dissapointing! There was no ending... I was not pleased! She also kept going back and forth to the future... she should have kept everything in order.
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