A Coal Miner's Wife by Marin Thomas
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Poppy
Following the accidental death of her husband, Annie McKee is determined her boys will not grow up to work in the coal mines. It's been a struggle for the young widow to make ends meet, but she wants her sons to have a better life—far removed from Heather's Hollow, Kentucky. To give them that chance Annie needs a good job. And she needs the help of Patrick Kirkpatrick.
Her husband's best friend offers to help Annie study for her general education degree, and things get complicated when she and Patrick realize they have feelings for each other. But how can Annie fall for a man who is determined to stay in the one place she must leave behind?
This final book in Marin Thomas' "Hearts of Appalachia" series is another for the keeper shelf.
Annie McKee never finished high school; instead she got married and had two babies with her now deceased husband. Their marriage wasn't a good one, but she stuck it out for her boys. And, she decides that she needs to make more sacrifices for them as well -- she needs to leave Heather's Hollow and give them a chance at a better life. Annie's reasons are admirable, and very understandable. She has nothing in Heather's Hollow but an mother who doesn't give a rip for her and bad memories.
As her husband's best friend (and the boy's honorary uncle), Patrick Kirkpatrick offers to help Annie in her quest to make a better life. He offers his computer for her studies, and he gives her boys the male attention they need. The problem is, Patrick's been crazy about Annie since before she even dated his friend, and the more time he spends with her, the more deeply his heart is involved.
I always love a book where there is a need for a deep sacrifice from one or both of the main characters. In this book, either Annie has to give up her dream of a better life or Patrick must give up the home he loves in order for the relationship to succeed. The emotions between these two are rich and believable. The angst they go through as they grow closer, the worry they both have about each other and about Annie's children only makes the story more heart-rending. Annie is a strong woman with a soft heart, and Patrick is the kind of man any smart woman would want in her life. Ms. Thomas has built a solid conflict and a story with much emotion.
I was certain I knew how this book was going to end -- I was positive I knew which sacrifice would be made, and who would make it. I was dead wrong, and I'm glad I was. It made the ending even more satisfying for me.
Though this book easily stands alone, you'll enjoy it more if you read the entire series so you can keep up with old friends. I thoroughly enjoyed this book (and all the the books in the series) and happily encourage you to grab yourself a copy. You won't be sorry.