ImageIt is hard to teach an old dog new tricks so I will truthfully admit that I am addicted to historical fiction and it is not an addiction that I am willing to break.  That said, my newest read is Whistle in the Dark by Susan Hill Long.  Set in the lead mines of the Missouri Ozark Mountains, Clem J has just turned 13.  The year is 1925 and his little sister Ettie suffers from severe epilepsy.  The family needs money since Grampy can no longer work and Ettie’s medication costs the family greatly.  It is assumed that Clem will naturally become a miner and leave school for this new life.  The problem is Clem does not want to be underground with grown men day after day for the rest of his life.  The darkness and the weight of the earth suffocate and stifle him.  Clem longs to stay in school, graduate and see more of the world than Leadanna, Missouri.  He writes of nature and dreams of owning a dog.  Clem’s life is above ground.  But after a series of life changing events, Clem must reconcile what is truly important in this coming of age novel of loss, friendship and family responsibility.

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