This is a book that I would not have normally chosen to read. I came by it quite by accident - a mistake from the mail order book club that I belong to - 'The Literary Guild'. I was about to pass it on to a friend, but one night I couldn't sleep and having nothing else to read, I picked it up.
I was pleasantly surprised!
The story begins in the year 2008 as the main character, Samantha Kofer's promising career at a huge Wall Street law firm is derailed due to the recession. Down-sized and furloughed, she is escorted out of the building, but later given the offer of possibly getting her job back if she worked for a year - without pay - at a legal aid clinic in the heart of Appalachian coal country in the tiny town of Brady, Virginia. There she is drawn into the shadowy and dangerous world of 'Big Coal', where laws are broken, rules and regulations ignored, and where the land and the people are exploited for big profit.
We follow Samantha as this big city girl gets drawn into, and falls in love with the struggles and tragedies of the people in this small town. She finds herself involved in the dangerous and deadly world of high stakes litigation through her association with the handsome and reckless prosecution lawyer, Donovan Gray who has his own personal grudge against 'Big Coal'.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it carried me along to a world few people outside of Appalachia are aware of - the serious and devastating environmental and health effects of coal mining - seen through the naive, but intelligent eyes of the lead character, Samantha, and the innocent inhabitants of the small town of Brady. I couldn't put this book down and the twists and turns kept the pages turning.
I am now a John Grisham fan and I have a lot of catching up to do, as this is his 27th novel!