Rachel's daughter, Jackie, carries Dillon's activism and passion into the next generation. As Dillon fought, and was imprisoned, for union-organizing, Jackie, as a journalist, fights against injustice by exposing American Coal's methodical destruction of the community. And, like her mother, Jackie falls passionately in love with a young man with whom a conventional relationship is not possible. Tom Kolwecki, a Jesuit seminarian who arrives in Blackberry Creek as a Vista Volunteer, is powerfully attractive to her, but the pull of his religious vocation and the accidents of history and tragedies of nature render their unions stillborn.
Denise Giardina creates, with brutal honesty and painful insight, a carefully woven narrative tapestry and a generational saga that builds to a climax as shattering as any in recent American fiction.