The Well and the Mine – Gin Phillips

The Well and the Mine has one of the best opening lines I’ve ever come across:

After she threw the baby in, nobody believed me for the longest time. But I kept hearing that splash.

The book is set in a small American mining town during the 1930s and gives a vivid portrait of a community struggling to cope with the Depression.

The blurb implies that the book is a mystery revolving around who threw the baby into the well,ย but anyone looking for a mystery will be disappointed. The identity of the person who throws the baby is revealed, butย is really of no consequence. Instead the book is more like a character study; revealing the thoughts and relationships of those living in the American South at the time.

Unfortunately the book was too slow for me. Very little actually happens. I admired the quality of the writing and the rich characters that were described, but I longed for the people to actually do something.

Recommended to people who enjoy gentle books.

Others enjoyed this more than I did:

The writing is pitch perfect. There is a subtle dialect that is charming without being over-powering. Educating Petunia

A real gem of a book paved with so many perfect moments that I can do no justice… Leafing Through Life

I loved this book. The writing style is sparse and yet at the same time lyrical. Page After Page

25 replies on “The Well and the Mine – Gin Phillips”

Novel Insights, The first few pages were fantastic. It is such a shame that the plot disappeared after that. If you like slower books then there is still a good chance you’ll enjoy this one.

I admired the quality of the writing and the rich characters that were described, but I longed for the people to actually do something.

This should be a whole category of books. I may use this line again, attributed to you, of course.
Sometimes I enjoy those types of books, but generally no- The Gate at the Stairs. Too slow. It’s like that phrase tl;dr – we can call it “too slow; do something!”

raidergirl3, I agree! A genre all of their own would help ๐Ÿ™‚ This book is in a whole league slower than A Gate at the Stairs. Several things actually happened in that book ๐Ÿ˜‰

I usually look for more action in my books, and I didn’t absolutely love this one, but I thought it was pretty good. For a book about the Depression, possibly my least favorite setting for historical fiction. I am from the American South myself, and I thought this book painted a solid, nicely nuanced picture of the South in that time period.

Jenny, It sounds as though we had a similar experience with this one. I agree that it gave a good description of that time period (from my limited knowledge) but I wish there had been a plot to go with the period atmosphere.

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