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Whispers from the Ashes [Kindle Edition]

Patricia Hester
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.60
Kindle Price: $4.99
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  • Length: 416 pages
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Book Description

Pennsylvania coal country, 1955.
A community struggling with economic collapse, religious differences, and an encroaching underground mine fire.
A mysterious entry in a dead man’s diary.
A father with a troubled past.
A daughter's innocent curiosity.
A house filled with secrets.
A debut coming-of-age story that will tug at your heart-strings.

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Whispers from the Ashes is based on true events in Pennsylvania history.  Underground mine fires have become a fact of life for many mining regions.  The one highlighted in this book is the Red Ash fire, located in the borough of Laurel Run.  It continues to burn to this day.

About the Author

PATRICIA HESTER, who grew up in Pennsylvania, presents her debut coming-of-age novel, Whispers from the Ashes, semi-finalist in both the 2005 James Jones First Novel Fellowship and the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Patricia, a Registered Nurse and freelance writer, lives in Washington State. Her short story "The Light of Life" placed first in Nursing2009's annual story contest.

Product Details

  • File Size: 582 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Patricia Wiggins; 2 edition (October 29, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049U4W7Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,463 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
134 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whispers from the Ashes September 29, 2010
What a delightful coming of age novel by a new author. It is a fast moving story about Molly, a young girl searching for answers from the past as she moves forward to the future. Molly is a member of close knit family in the 1950's. She has a loving mom who has so much love to give that she shares it with her children as well as the children of other family members. She has a warmhearted dad who is probably an alcoholic but she constantly forgives his binges because of her deep love and respect for him. Molly's stories of family hardships and good times are entwined with a family secret she is attempting to solve by eavesdropping on private family conversations and trips to the library searching old newspapers. This appears to be is an innocent novel but at times there are shocking revelations. A very good read.
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whispers from the Ashes took me home. November 3, 2010
Loved this novel. I was born and raised in the Wilkes-Barre area and moved away. Whenever I would go back to visit my family I would say I am going home. My husband heard about this novel from a friend and bought it for me for my birthday.
He wrote on the gift card, "Going Home". And that is exactly what this novel did. It took me home. It took me back to Northeast Pa. It took me back to the fifties and how simple life was then. I fell in love with Molly Branigan. As she narrates her story she reminds me of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. The story moves quickly and each chapter is just as interesting as the last. This would be a good choice for a Christmas gift for anyone who calls Northeast Pa home.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant November 18, 2010
By chaky
Loved that this story unfolded through the eyes of a 5 yr old...made it more real because of using a child's voice to describe the family goings on before she was born that still affect her. And she knows there is more to unfold as she uses all that is available to her as a child to learn it. There was so much family loyalty that prevented the truth from coming out...people moved and kept secrets to protect the family. Amazing how it all came together with all the twists and turns as life kicked in. Was able to visualize the area from the author's description without ever being in similar environments. For me it was a mystery until the end .... loved how the truth caused her to become even closer to her dad. Was hard to put down .. brilliant book. A must read.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A hard life, brought to words October 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
3.5 stars

In the 1950s, life is hard for the Pennsylvania mountainside coal community of Giant's Despair. The community is struggling with economic collapse, as well as dealing with the fumes from an underground coal fire, which is poisoning their trees and their water supply. This story is a snapshot into the life of one family, as told through the eyes of young Molly. She tells of the stress that comes from living in the dying community. Through her, we meet her hard drinking father, her mother who is native to the town, her older brother and sister, her odd assortment of relatives and members of the community. As life goes on, Molly discovers an old diary and sets out to discover more of her family's history. The more Molly digs, the more she learns, and the more she discovers her family's history is not exactly what she has been lead to believe...and perhaps how some things should have been left untold.

Ms. Hester writes of a time long past, a simpler time where modern conveniences were rare, and family loyalty is paramount. The community of Giant's Despair is brought to life in vivid detail, the reader smells the smoke from the underground mine fires and feels the bitter winter and the hope of the oncoming spring. In the beginning of the story, we meet Molly as a young and innocent girl, as the book progresses she grows older and her innocence is slowly lost. She discovers her father is not the big strong man she believes him to be, realizing for the first time he has weaknesses. Like all father/daughter relationships, this moment of innocence lost is devastating. Molly's parents have a deep love for each other and their children, and throughout the story, this love is tested and holds strong.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly well written story !! April 17, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Absolutely LOVED this book !! An amazingly well written interwoven story that blends emotions and hard realities, familial and community relations, simple living and harsh industrialization, and so much more in the way one would blend a fine dessert. Wow! "Wow" is all I could say as this book wound down to its ending. What a beautiful story of a young girl's (Molly's) life. A walk from innocence into 'the way things are' through so many facets all at once.

I bought this book out of a personal interest in the setting. I now live not far from where everything takes place. But I was not prepared for the beauty of the story itself. I've got tears flowing even as I write this review. If you love a story written in the simplicity of small town life, that takes you much deeper than than fast paced drama and high speed chases, you'll love this book. Thank you Patricia Hester for a novel so easy and compelling to read, so full and rich in detail.

I loved the sense of actually 'being there'. The feeling that I could see not only through Molly's eyes but through the eyes of other characters as well. To feel what lies in their hearts and motivates actions, and how those actions can and DO affect the lives of so many others. The author brought this out on so many levels. The story just weaves back and forth in a very casual way, beautiful for its ease and simplicity. I'm moved particulary by the close interactions of Molly and her family, especially her father. Being the father of two daughters myself it was very easy to relate. And yet there was so much more.

Another facet of the story that affected me, and affects us all in one way or another is the end result of heavy-handed industrialization on a community.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The story progressed slowly and tediously, although it was one I...
The story progressed slowly and tediously, although it was one I wanted to finish to the end. It was not one I couldn't lay down for a few days.
Published 1 month ago by Shirley Granville
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed this book. Will there be a sequel to it
Published 2 months ago by Kathy Bales
4.0 out of 5 stars Kat Ruhl
Great storyline, loved Molly and her curious nature for her family. It was a little hard to identify the members in the family and to follow their lives. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kathy Ruhl
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
good book
Published 2 months ago by Charles Cunningham
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great vacation read!
Published 2 months ago by Marta Arsenault-Cyr
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
It held my attention through out the book. A good mystery and insight to the cole industry wonderful, colorful descriptions.
Published 3 months ago by Pinkkitty
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
The type of story you just have to keep reading to the end non stop.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Published 3 months ago by kat novo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by LOIS S. MULLER
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book and great characters.
Published 4 months ago by katyintx
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Very good as an historical novel
Very Very good as an historical novel. I liked it better than most members of my book club. Details somewhat depressing but necessary.
Published 5 months ago by Donna Walls
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More About the Author

Originally from Pennsylvania, now living in the Pacific Northwest, Patricia Hester has served as a Registered Nurse in states from Florida to Alaska,earned the rank of Captain in the US Air Force, owned and operated a bed and breakfast, organized investment clubs, worked in the only female corrections center in Washington State, and guided three children into adulthood.

Success followed as an indie author when her debut novel, Whispers from the Ashes, previously titled Giant's Despair, reached semi-finalist stage in both the 2005 James Jones First Novel Fellowship and the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. At the same time, her story The Light of Life took first prize in Nursing2009's short story contest.

Whispers from the Ashes reached best selling status nationally in 2012 and continues to please readers around the world.

She authors full length historical and mystery novels, short stories and poetry.

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