Friday, March 21, 2014

The Pitman's Daughter by Marjorie DeLuca

Rita was born and bred in Crag street, where "everything was bare and exposed. Life was raw and tough and, God knows, she’d tried hard to smooth out the rough edges she’d been left with."

The pitmen and their extended families called it home, but for most of them it felt more like a poverty trap they could not escape from. Coal mining defined everything they did or had. Black soot and dust colored their lives and stories. But Rita knew she would get away, and so did George. Despite the poverty and hardships, change was waiting to happen that would leave no one untouched. However, love was not easy to come by, but it did change everything when it happened. Sadly, it also did not happen for everyone who deserved it.

Comments: This book can be viewed as a blend of romance and historical fiction with a touch of excellence in detail that winds through the narrative from the beginning to end. The characters are authentic. It took a while to get into the story, but when it happened, reality lost out to this nostalgic tale about the inhabitants of Crag street in this small mining village in England.

Rita was one determined young lady who had to prove her ambitious dreams of escaping the circumstances and people she so despised. Nothing and no one in Crag street could ever make her happy. All she ever dreamed of was not only to get away, but also move as far away as possible. In this amazingly multileveled tale, her journey started out as the learning curve of a ten year-old girl, on her way into adulthood where she must find herself and learn unintentional, unplanned lessons on her way in searching for love and security. Some of those lessons were not supposed to be learnt by innocent young girls, but which, in the end, defined her in ways she never thought possible as an adult. It was only when she was forced to come full circle that she finally understood the real meaning of the brightly flowering lobelias and daisies in the coal miner gardens. But she first had to live out her aspirations, to understand where the strength of her own roots lay hidden and what really determined the core of her happiness.

What a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is once again one of those books that takes the reader into the intimate world of people and history that nobody, except the inhabitants, would have known otherwise. Detailed, descriptive, and fascinating, but also informative and well presented. 

The tale is rich, heartwarming, endearing, passionate, compassionate, sad, hopeful, beautiful. A brilliant piece of writing by a highly skilled author. 



Rita Hawkins fought all her life to escape from Crag Street, the grimy street of colliery houses where gossip reigned, tuberculosis killed, and mining families slaved to make ends meet. There she met George, the last surviving son of a poor mining family forced against his wishes to start work as a miner. Her life becomes inextricably tied up with his but love eludes them, though events in their lives constantly throw them together. George the high-minded idealist gets caught up with the miner's union, while cold, hard cash drives Rita, the pragmatist, towards independence and success in business. Their relationship is complicated by the tragic Maggie, abused mother of seven children and Ella, the childless street gossip with her nose in everyone's business. 
Years later, when Crag Street is torn down and rebuilt in a museum, Rita receives an invitation from George to attend the Grand Opening. The visit forces her to face painful memories about George, Maggie and Ella and to revisit the tragic incidents of the last days she spent on Crag Street. 

A vivid tale of love and loss, joy and tragedy, The Pitman's Daughter spans five decades and portrays the colorful tapestry of life in a Durham colliery village. Filled with unforgettable characters it is also a story of ambition and identity that shows no matter how hard we try, we can't escape our past since it shapes us into the person we become.



Marjorie DeLuca spent her childhood in the ancient cathedral city of Durham in North-Eastern England. She attended the University of London, became a teacher, and then immigrated to Canada where she lives with her husband, two children and a crazy dog named Bella. There she also studied writing under her mentor, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Carol Shields. Though she loves writing sci-fi for teens, she’s also just completed two historical novels due out in the next few months


british-novels, canadian-authors, community, coal mine history, family, historical-fiction, relationships, reviewed, romance, England, Marjorie De Luca
Number of Pages: 350
Formats: Kindle | Paperback| Nook
Publishing Date: August 27th 2013

PublishersCreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

  • ISBN-13: 9781492162063
Edition language: English
Purchase Links: Amazon USA  | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble


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