Kat F. (Palatine, IL)
It pulled me in and didn't let go
I started this book when I received it a month or two ago. Life got in the way and I had to put it down. Last week on a cruise I started it again and just couldn't put it down. It is truly an engrossing story on a couple of levels. I had watched a program a year or two ago about the Centralia coal fires. Learning more about the fires and how the families living in the area dealt with the situation on a daily basis was very interesting on it's own. Add in the personal story of Bridgid and her family, along with the secrets and intrigue associated with those secrets, and you've got one of the best novels I've read in the past several years.
Robin M. (Newark, DE)
The Hollow Ground will leave a hole in your heart
I wanted to read this book because it begins when I am a baby and takes place not far from where I live. The book focuses almost completely on the local area and local events, with little reference to national historical events, which is perfect, as it only adds to the isolated feeling the characters experience throughout the book.
The Hollow Ground is a haunting story, that I completely enjoyed, despite the meanness of some of the characters and the sadness they caused each other.
If you enjoy historical fiction and learning about some of the less known occurrences in US history, I highly recommend this book.
Mary M. (Lexington, KY)
Fires and Secrets
The coal fires in 1960's Pennsylvania provide the background for this book. The story is narrated by Brigid a young girl and revolves around her family. The family has to deal with hardship and turmoil some of which is caused by the fires and some caused by family secrets. Brigid is determined to uncover these secrets. This book is a family saga, historical novel and a mystery. I really enjoyed it and think it would be an excellent choice for book clubs.
Diane D. (Blairstown, NJ)
Sad, but a good read
I wanted to read this book, because we live fairly close to the area where it's set. Also, my daughter & grandsons had visited there, and I'd just read Bill Bryson's book, A Walk in the Woods, which mentioned his visit there.
The family backgrounds of the characters were disturbing and sad, and there weren't too many "happy" moments in the book, but it was one of those books that you just "had" to keep reading till the end.
I liked the book and would recommend it to book clubs, if only for the discussions it would engender. The book would be an eye-opener to young people, as to how people lived back then, as well.
Barbara B. (Alta Loma, CA)
The Hollow Ground
Although The Hollow Ground dealt with a very difficult subject matter, I found the story very interesting since it was based on real life. Ms Harnett's description of Barrendale placed me among the soot, ash, & smoke. I could just picture the land and what it was like down in he bootlegger's hole. I felt she was right on with her characters and I liked all of them, especially, Gram who carried so much guilt. The subject matter was educational and I think high school students would enjoy this book very much.
Mary S. (Pinson, AL)
The Hollow Ground is an Excellent Read
Fiction based on real life events is one of my favorite genres; and The Hollow Ground is one of the best books I've read so far this year. Natalie Harnett tells a very interesting story of Brigid Howley and her family, whose lives are torn apart by these uncontrollable underground mine fires during the 1960s. This is a very emotional story with a lot of misplaced anger that comes out as family secrets are revealed. I highly recommend this book, it is a story you will continue to think about long after you finish reading the book.
Lydia M. (Virginia Beach, VA)
A book to remember...tell your friends
This is a book I could not put down. I have enjoyed hundreds of books but 'The Hollow Ground' will stand apart from previous reads in that the strength of the story and the spontaneous and profound understanding I felt with the narrator, Bridget, shook me to my core.
I sincerely hope that Ms Harnett feels the inspiration to give us another such gift.
A truly fine work....thank you!