Coal river, Pennsylvania has made it's mark on historical fiction/romance. The town is created, yet the history is a horrific reality. To soften the blow, romance blossoms in a bad situation.
Emma Malloy is pushed out of a New York hospital after her parents are documented as dead from the same theater fire Emma survived. In 1912, the social programs haven't been created, so the only place she knows to go, other than the poor house, is Coal River.
Her aunt and uncle grudgingly take her in with the prerequisite to earn her keep as a house maid and stay in the shadows. Uncle Otis is a supervisor for the local coal mine, which sparks Emma's curiosity after she notices many local boys with missing limbs, coal-dirty, and not in school.
Clayton Nash works in the coal mine and can't help but notice Emma as a new woman in town. He has his family, minus a wife, in mind when he works long dangerous hours in the toxic environment of coal.
By an accidental meeting, Clayton and Emma hide their interest in one another as they realize the mutual help to attain their goals is foreseeable if they team up. Clayton is determined to make the coal mines safer and operate under better regulations while keeping his adopted orphans healthy and safe. Emma dreams of teaching children and adds making the coal mine safe for the families and children after learning how dangerous they are.
Meeting frequently, Emma and Clayton develop a bond with strong feelings as they organize to bring safety and health to the coal workers.
An amazing story replicating the danger present in early American coal mines and the fact that health and love can grow in a toxic and fixable work environment.