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Sister Mine

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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,140 ratings  ·  143 reviews
The bestselling author of Back Roads returns to the Pennsylvania mine communities she knows so well, this time with the raucous voice of a woman who's used to holding her own among the miners.
Hardcover, 405 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Shaye Areheart Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Germinal by Émile ZolaHow Green Was My Valley by Richard LlewellynKing Solomon's Mines by H. Rider HaggardRoss Poldark by Winston GrahamFall of Giants by Ken Follett
Mining
73rd out of 90 books — 45 voters


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Community Reviews

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Kathy
This novel was a VERY light read...as in: no thinking required. But it was entertaining in a sassy, "Lifetime Movie" sort-of way. I finished it in about a day.
Shae-Lynn was the only character that was fully developed. All the other characters were superficial and marginal to the actual plot, yet important to the telling of Shae-Lynn's story and her current state of mind. The story was definitely plot-driven: clever and engaging. But I couldn't help but feel a bit cheated by the ending, as it wra
...more
Bethany
In just two novels Tawni O'Dell has secured herself as one of my favorite authors. I do hope that her prowess extends beyond coal mining towns, but even if it doesn't I will be happy to spend more time in her gritty, hard working, troubled world.

I can't really find the right words for this one yet, just that it wraps up so much about humanity, about women and mothers and sisters, and somehow does it without ever once feeling trite or overcooked. I absolutely LOVE that we get to know the characte
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Sondra Meyer Raile
Although this is "chic lit" and an Oprah pick, I did enjoy this book. It's pretty well written and tells the story with a bit of wry humor that makes it more readable. The main character, Shea-Lynn, has endured physical abuse, betrayal, exploitation and abandonment yet perseveres with wit and nerve. Her sister, whom she raised when their mother died after childbirth, disappeared without a word decades previously, then suddenly reappears. The book takes off with a bit of mystery as we watch Shae- ...more
Lola4
Overall, I liked this book, largely because I came from the same area as Ms. O'Dell and enjoy how she writes with accuracy and authority about the culture, landscape, and people. I would have considered this her best book except for several problems that really bothered me, like the cheesy scene where she propositions the Marine--very poorly handled. I have a lot of problems with the final chapter but can't explain without spoilers. However, everything I did not like about the book is mentioned ...more
Rodney Farrell Sr
I hesitated in giving SISTER MINE a two-star rating but the story line was rambling and other times interesting. The ending was not as I expected nor was it climactic. I have read O'Dell's COAL RUN and enjoying the storyline of Western Pennsylvania and the coal culture. I have attended college and worked in this region and appreciate the contributions of coal miners and their families. Coal miners and families are hardworking and hard living. SISTER MINE does reflect this lifestyle. I will read ...more
Bob
Mar 24, 2014 Bob rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: misc
Life in a Pennsylvania coal mining town. Part of the plot centered on the after effects of a mine accident that trapped several miners for 5 days. All were rescued; each coped with it in different ways. Most of the plot focussed on the relationship of two sisters, one of whom disappeared for 18 years and then returned.

I grew up in the midwest in a farming community, rather than in the coal fields where Tawni O'Dell writes about. I've been in the coal mining areas of SW Kentucky, visiting there f
...more
Maryellen
Set in the coal mining region of Western Pennsylvania, this book tells the story of Shae-Lynn Penrose and her sister Shannon as well as the Jolly Mount Five~~coal miners who survived a mining accident that found them trapped underground for five days.

Shae-Lynn and Shannon grew up without a Mother. Their Mom died just after giving birth to Shannon~~something that would come to shape Shannon’s entire being. The girls’ Dad was a coal miner who was ill equipped to handle raising two girls. He did it
...more
Becky Finfrock
I was captivated by this book and the characters. I kept wantng to know more about them and their backstories, which kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed reading it, but was a little underwhelmed with the ending, still a very good read though.
Christa
This was a fun book that sucked me in from the minute I started reading, which was great because I was just looking for an easy read that didn't require a whole lot of effort.

I know a lot of reviews were saying that their main problem was that the narrator, Shae-Lynn, was a real piece of work. She definitely was, and I don't think I ever read a cop (or in her case, a former one) who acted quite like she did. Yeah, she's immature, can be grating, and her decision-making is a bit suspect, but I th
...more
Terri White
This was a terrific book with an amazing main character, Shae-Lynn. I could not put the book down. The author's narrative and description were flawless. I admit to being fascinated with coal miners, since both my grandfathers worked in the Penna mines. But the mines are just a subset of the book. It is really a book about how a character is molded from childhood into adulthood. It is at times heartbreaking, almost infuriating, but also quite enlightening. And, in the end, triumphant.

Five stars.
...more
Kris
3.5 STARS

"Shae-Lynn Penrose drives a cab in a town where no one needs a cab—but plenty of people need rides. A former police officer with a closet full of miniskirts, a recklessly sharp tongue, and a tendency to deal with men by either beating them up or taking them to bed, she has spent years carving out a life for herself and her son in Jolly Mount, Pennsylvania, the tiny coal-mining town where she grew up.

Two years ago, five of Shae-Lynn's miner friends were catapulted to media stardom when t
...more
Anna Todd
Sister Mine by Tawni O'Dell (copyright 2007) captures the attention of the reader with Shae-Lynn Penrose: a 40 year old woman that is charming, yet brazen, a bit raucous, and wise beyond her years. Shae-Lynn was born and raised in a small community in Pennsylvania called Jolly Mount. Despite the harsh realities of growing up without a mother and suffering abuse at the hands of her coal-miner father, Shae-Lynn is truly a survivor.There are enough dramatics to keep the reader interested and plenty ...more
Patricia
Warren County Public Libraries chose Tawnie O’Dell as their 2011 selected author for their Read Along the River Community Read Program. The author visit was October 21 at the Warren Public Library. She began her talk by thanking the representatives of the local libraries for their important work and their ability to continue on in spite of cutbacks in funding. The Public Library in her hometown of Indiana, PA, had recently closed due to lack of funding.

She refers to her books as her children. Si
...more
Donna
Shae-Lynn Penrose is a tragically flawed protagonist. Indeed, she is quite messed up. But, I love her grittiness and am rooting for her. She grew up in a small town and is a coal miner's daughter. Her mother died after giving birth to her little sister, Shannon. If Shae-Lynn is a mess, Shannon is a train wreck. Shae-Lynn takes care of her sister and makes sure her dad has everything he needs for what she knows is a difficult job. In addition, she runs interference when dad comes home from the ba ...more
Carrie Stewart
Shae-Lynn Penrose is a tough talking, pink Stetson-wearing ex-cop always ready for a fight. Now the only cab driver in the small mining town of Jolly Mount in Pennsylvania, Shae-Lynn gets into various scrapes with the locals. Raised by her abusive father after her mother died in childbirth, she had to look after her little sister Shannon from a young age, before becoming a mother herself at seventeen to Clay. The town exists because of the mines, and getting out is difficult. Shae-Lynn did get o ...more
Jessica
This was an interesting audio book for me. The story would have been great if ....
being abused by your dad was ok. No one ever reported the bastard. The author talked so calmly about staying with her dad when after she told him she was pregnant, he attacked her with a claw head hammer! She'd been raped, but couldn't bother to tell anyone because he was her dad's boss. She was afraid he'd lose his job. Who cares. He beat her many more times, but didn't ever report. She still had the scar. The boy
...more
Whitney
While you are reading, keep in mind the main character speaks and acts like a dumb, promiscuous, trashy, bar fighting, something-but-nothing to prove, attitude saturated, typical 20 year old…….oh wait….she is 40. The main character in this book, Shae-Lynn, is not likable on page; perhaps it is because I do not like women like her in real life. She dresses like a bimbo, acts like a fool and the pages are riddled with her speaking about her breasts like they are dangerous ICBM’s and her random sto ...more
Donna Levin
Dec 11, 2007 Donna Levin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tough women with a sense of humor
Shae-Lynn Penrose is as hard and gritty as the coal her father once mined from the earth, until that earth swallowed him up in an explosion. She's been a single mom, a D.C. cop, and now she's the owner of her small town's sole taxi cab.
Author Tawni O'Dell grabbed me with Shae-Lynn's voice from the first sentence, and by page 3 I was deep in the story when I learned that the sister Shae-Lynn has thought dead these many years might still alive. From then on the shocks keep coming like the first wa
...more
Phil Jones
Tawni O'Dell's first novel, 'Backroads', was so good that I was afraid whatever else she wrote could never reach such heights. 'Sister Mine' is a little more quirky - it's main character a wise-cracking female taxi driver living the American Dream in some backwoods mining town. Some of the plot works - some (the Russian gangsters) doesn't. Not as life-affirming as 'Backroads' but still filled with characters you'd like to meet again. More please.
Nancy
This is a story of broken characters made whole at the end. It was a first for me, to not really like anyone while reading the book, but when I got to the end, I fell in love with them. I completely forgot about everything I didn’t like, and I’m not quite sure how that happened! I still don’t know what Shae-Lynn seducing the Marine recruiter was all about, and apparently he didn’t either. What I do know and was reminded of by O’Dell’s book, is that no one is perfect, but some are better than ot ...more
Stephen
Ms. O'Dell's first book Back Roads was very good and a bit shocking. A small town horror story. Her second, Coal Run, presented an excellent small town slice of life story, on par with Richard's Russo's Empire Falls. Both Back Roads and Coal Run feature memorable characters and a strong sense of place that compel the stories forward and make them hard to put down. For me, Sister Mine, her third novel, reads like an Elmore Leonard take on the setting and some of the characters from the first two. ...more
Lisa
Shae-Lynn is a survivor, through and through. Growing up motherless and with an abusive father, she learned early on how to care for herself and her younger sister, Shannon. When Shannon returns home after an 18-yr absence, pregnant and looking for help, Shae-Lynn is ready to do whatever she can for her family. Things spiral out of control pretty fast, though, and Shae-Lynn starts to wonder if she ever really knew her sister at all.

Mostly, I really enjoyed the thematic structure of the book. I k
...more
Karen Germain
Tawni O'Dell writes beautifully and is great at creating memorable characters. The characters in her book are so well developed that her books become very visual and cinematic.

The problem that I had with this particular book, is it had too much going on. The plot was muddled and downright silly in parts. I felt like many of the characters that created the intensity, especially surrounding the baby, just drifted off unresolved. The scope of the story was too large and I would have enjoyed it mor
...more
Diana
I have never read this author before and I really enjoyed her humor. I like how the author surprised me with the sex of the characters. As I read the first chapter I visioned the taxi driver as a male but He was actually She. It caught me off guard and the author accomplished this a few more times throughout the book. I also liked how the author incorporated the title in the book, which also had a twist.

There was good humor throughout and at times I laughed out loud. I would consider this a gre
...more
Vi Louise
My first book by the author. The reader was excellent and kept me interested enough to finish in one day. Interesting look at abused victims and how abuse sets one up to be abused by others.
Kelly
I enjoyed this book. Tawni O'Dell's best yet. I enjoyed seeing previous characters pop up in the story line. I found the characters to be products of their upbringing, true to life, understandable and for the most part, likeable. The complex simplicity (would that win the Bushmills?) of life in a small, poor town struggling to survive is dead on. The substitute parental figures Shae-Lynn has, her arrested development caused by her pregnancy, Shannon's detachment, the acceptance of everybody as t ...more
David
This is another I got to read early. I emailed Tawni and asked to get an ARC and I would share this one with many people becaus of how much I liked her first novel Back Roads. She sent me one and I got to meet her in Chicago. I really liked this one told from Shae-Lynn's voice. She used to be a cop and now drives a cap in a town where no body needs a cab, but lots of people need rides. She moved back to where she grew up and is living with the thought her sister died at the hands of their abusiv ...more
Sandy
I got this from the library as an audio book to listen to while driving on a recent road trip. Good story and characters, well-written and funny (if you like black humor, which I do). The reader was excellent. The only thing I didn't care for were a couple of explicit sex scenes. These are easy to skim over when you're reading,but you're kind of stuck when you're driving and listening. Reading (or skipping) that stuff is one thing. The "eewwww" factor in listening to it was enough to dock it a s ...more
Deon Stonehouse
Sister Mine by Tawni O’Dell is bawdy, rough around the edges, and funny. Shea-Lynn is a wild cat taking life head on! Shae-Lynn left home as a young single mother, making her way to the big city and a job in law enforcement. Her sister stayed behind with their abusive father; when Shannon went missing Shae-Lynn thought she had been killed by their daddy. For many years Shae-Lynn carried the guilt of her sister’s fate. Now years later, Shae-Lynn has come home to run a taxi service in the small mi ...more
Tammy Armstrong-trozzi
Good book, I like Twani O'Dell. This book delivered a good story line and kept your interest peaked.
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Tawni O'Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of Fragile Beasts, Sister Mine, Coal Run, and Back Roads, which was an Oprah's Book Club pick and a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection. Tawni's screen adaptation of Back Roads is currently in development to be made into a film with Adrian Lyne set to direct. Her work has been translated into 15 languages and been published in over 30 countri ...more
More about Tawni O'Dell...
Back Roads Coal Run Fragile Beasts One of Us Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female

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“ A man spends his whole life trying to prove his worth to others. A woman spends her life trying to prove her worth to herself.” 30 likes
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