An assured, inspiring debut which demonstrates the power of the human spirit to give comfort in times of hardship. In 1931 Carbon Hill, a small Alabama coal-mining town, nine-year-old Tess Moore watches from the darkness of her back porch as a strange woman lifts the cover off the family well and tosses a baby in without a word. It is the height of the Depression; while Tess's father, Albert, performs backbreaking and dangerous work at the mine, her mother, Leta, makes do without meat on her table. But the family are luckier than most; the food they can grow on their plot of land has so far saved them from the crippling poverty and near-starvation that besets their neighbours. As Tess tries to unravel the mystery of the woman at the well, a portrait emerges of a family and a community struggling to survive the darkest of times. Resonant, vivid and clear-eyed in its portrayal of both the best and the worst of human nature, The Well and the Mine is a stunning novel about love, hope and the importance of doing the right thing.
Gin Phillips lives in Birmingham, Alabama; THE WELL AND THE MINE was turned down by every mainstream US publisher to whom it was submitted and was eventually published by Hawthorne, a tiny press in Oregon. It went on to win the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize and the paperback rights went to Penguin US.