“The Well and the Mine” opens as nine-year-old Tess, hidden in the dark, watches an unknown woman toss a baby into her family’s well. This violent act prompts Tess and her older sister, Virgie, to try to solve the mystery of the woman’s identity. Their explorations lead them to look beyond their own family to the values, problems, and tragedies of other families. The girls’ search brings them to realize that the poverty of their small town, racial tensions at the mine, the value of kindness, and a helping hand are intertwined. When their younger brother is hit by a truck and injured, they come to understand the sacrifices their parents have made for the children to have a better life, and the power of love and compassion. Gin Phillips’ first novel explores the human interactions and emotions of one small Georgia mining town during the Great Depression. I didn’t want this book to end!
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