The Well and the Mine, By Gina Phillips

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The Independent Culture

"After she threw the baby in, nobody believed me for the longest time. But I kept hearing that splash." So opens Gina Phillip's debut novel about life in a small Alabama coal-mining town in the Great Depression.

Nine-year-old Tess, who witnesses a stranger hurling an infant down a nearby well, is fast becoming inured to tragedy.

Luckier than most - her family can grow enough food on their plot to fend off starvation - she's surrounded by a society in the midst of social and racial upheaval.

When Tess and her sister, Virgie, begin a search for the woman at the well, they are forced to grow up fast.