Today I am excited to be a part of the blog tour for My Loving Vigil Keeping written by award-winning author Carla Kelly.
Kelly's latest historical novel takes place in Winter Quarters, a coal mine near Scofield, Utah, in 1900. Reading about the lifestyles of miners and their families was very interesting. These miners were very good at their jobs, and even though there was danger, it was what they knew best and few left the occupation (even after disasters).
Kelly tells a story about Della Anders. She never met her mother, and her father died in a mining accident when she was young. She was raised (poorly and unwillingly) by her wealthy aunt and uncle in Salt Lake. She wanted to get away from her cruel aunt, and decided that accepting the teaching position in Winter Quarters was as good an out as any.
Della had many struggles adjusting to the new lifestyle and the prejudices against her (because of her rich uncle, many miners and their families believed she was wealthy and trying to change them). Her efforts to reach out to the different immigrant groups and others living and working in Winter Quarters was heartwarming. The story also includes a romance that moves at a realistic pace.
Della and a handful of the miners are LDS, and the portrayal of life in the church in 1900 was eye opening.
As interesting as Della's story was, the part that really drew me into this novel was the Scofield Mine Disaster. I don't remember learning about it, which seems crazy since it was the biggest disaster in Utah History
(and the largest mining disaster in US history up to that point). At
least 200 people died when there was an explosion in one of the mining
shafts. Such a tragedy! As soon as I finished the novel I was online looking up more details.
I also had a chance to learn a bit more about the disaster when I visited the Western Mining and Railroad Museum in Helper, Utah, on my way to a family reunion at the end of June.
I don't typically break up road trips by stopping at small town museums, but we weren't in a hurry and it was fun to stop having just read about the area.