Set in Depression-era, small-town Alabama, this novel opens with a baby being tossed into a well. Don't let the gruesome beginning stop you from savoring this compelling, beautifully written book; the beginning really does have an important purpose. This poignant, slice-of-life tale is really about poverty, racial tensions, labor conditions, and the ties of family. Gin Phillips has an excellent ear for dialect and an absolutely tactile feel for setting. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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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A quietly bold debut, full of heart.
O, The Oprah Magazine
When you close the book, youll miss these characters. But The Well and the Mine doesnt just give you characters wholl stay with youit gives you a whole world.
Fannie Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man
Gin Phillips has a remarkable ear for dialogue and a tenderhearted eye for detail; you can hear the pecans and hickory nuts falling from the trees and feel the stillness of a hot summer night. A whisper runs through the novelthe ghosts of places and people and luscious peach pies.
Los Angeles Times
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...Phillips fully enters the lives of her honorable characters and brings them vibrantly to the page.
“Phillips’s writing is . . . brimming with imagery. . . . Her greatest talent is her ability to create the world of the story. Come In and Cover Me
moves us into the earth. The dusty landscape serves as both setting and metaphor, a beautiful but dangerous place where a sudden loss of footing can prove fatal.”—Brunonia
Barry, The Washington Post
“With a sure hand . . . Phillips, weaves this strand of the supernatural through a compelling modern story of love and loss.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“As graceful and emotionally true as Phillips’ debut—and, in its thoroughly researched reimagining of the American Southwest’s prehistoric Mimbres culture and its leap into supernatural territory without once losing its credibility or riveting story line, surpasses it. . . . Amid a sensually sketched setting of rock formations, mesquite and juniper, narrow canyons, and night skies, Ren and Silas work side by side and try to bridge the growing distance between them. As the natural and supernatural worlds coalesce, both recent and ancient history become more insistently present, yielding an original and strikingly beautiful ending.” Kate Christensen, Elle
“Long haunted by her dead brother, archaeologist Ren Taylor is being led to the find of her career by a ghostly woman who lived at the site of an ancient desert dig. Part love story, part field guide, this beguiling novel charts the excavation and restoration of a damaged soul.”—Parade
In 1931 Carbon Hill, a small Alabama coal-mining town, nine-year-old Tess Moore watches a woman shove the cover off the family well and toss in a baby without a word. For the Moore family, focused on helping anyone in need during the Great Depression, the apparent murder forces them to face the darker side of their community and question the motivations of family and friends. Backbreaking work keeps most of the townspeople busy from dawn to dusk, and racial tensions abound. For parents, it's a time when a better life for the children means sacrificing health, time, and every penny that can be saved. For a miner, returning home after work is a possibility, not a certainty. However, next to daily thoughts of death, exhausting work, and race are the lingering pleasures of sweet tea, feather beds, and lightning bugs yet to be caught.
When Ren was twelve years old, she lost her older brother to a car accident. For twenty-five years he’s been a presence in her life, appearing with a song or a reflection in the moonlight. Her connection to the ghosts around her has made her especially sensitive as an archaeologist, understanding the bare outline of our ancestors, recreating lives and stories, and breathing life into those who occupied this world long before us. On the cusp of the most important find of her career, it is the ghosts who are guiding her way. But what they have to tell Ren about herself, and her developing relationship with the first man to really know her since her brother’s death, is unexpected—a discovery about the relationship between the past and the future, and the importance of living in the moment.
About the Author
Gin Phillips is the author of the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize winning novel The Well and the Mine. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.