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The Hollow Ground (2014)

by Natalie S. Harnett(Favorite Author)
3.76 of 5 Votes: 2
1250041988 (ISBN13: 9781250041982)
Thomas Dunne Books
review 1: Set in 1960's Pennsylvania, The Hollow Ground tells the story of the Howley family through the eyes of 11-year-old Brigid. The family endures one tragedy after another - all the while Brigid tries with all her might to keep the family together, even while learning the deepest, darkest secrets that plague her entire family. As the ground continues to burn, the secrets continue to unravel, threatening to destroy the Howley family and what they each think they know about one another. Based on actual fires that raged underground in the area during the time the novel was set, the author did a good job of painting a picture for the reader as to just how devastating the situation was and how it wreaked havoc on entire cities/towns - and ultimately the families living in theses a... morereas. The characters were fully developed and easy to relate to, and the author did a nice job of interweaving their stories throughout the text. While some of their actions were unbelievable at times, it wasn't hard to feel their pain at certain moments.All in all, I really enjoyed this book and the way it was written. Not knowing much about the historical context in terms of when this took place, I didn't find that it hindered my reading/understanding of the book. While I'm not certain how accurate some of the details are pertaining to the dig outs and the testing of carbon monoxide levels within homes in the area, the story was certainly eye opening when you think about things such as this taking place below the ground we tread on.
review 2: The historical events in "The Hollow Ground" are centered on the burning of towns like Centralia, Pennsylvania, which started in the 1960s due to coal under the ground igniting (the reason why this happened is debated). The fires still burn today and Centralia is all but a ghost town. These events reflect the turmoil going on in the Howley family. As the fires drive people out of their homes, the Howley family is falling apart. The historic detail lends a haunting setting for this story of a family in free fall.Even with all of the events happening throughout the town as people begin to leave, the characters are really at the center of this story. Harnett paints a stark picture of the proud, but chaotic Howley family. Some of them are determined to stay as their neighbors leave and their home life keeps getting worse. Some are determined to go even if it means that they are only running away from problems that will eventually catch up with them.These characters are fascinating. I really liked reading about them. Harnett does a really good job of showing all of their inner turmoil. Brigid, the Howley daughter, is at that age where she begins to realize that her family is in trouble. She has to grow up quickly and in a way, she believes that it is up to her to try to keep the peace in her family but how can she when so much seems to be going wrong? Her father seems to only want to run away and hide. Her mother is impulsive and brash and is sure that she deserves more. Brigid is worried about her brother, who has an intellectual disability of some sort that no one seems to want to understand. If you like character driven stories with a historical element and you don't mind hard subjects, this would be a good pick for you! less
Reviews (see all)
3.5. The setting and the backdrop of events is what makes this a worthwhile read.
The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett took my breath away.
This debut novel really kept my interest.
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