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Arleigh Ordoyne for the Historical Novel Society.



"This story gives a realistic view of the treatment of foreigners by Americans who were themselves only a generation or two removed from immigrant status. It catalogs the rising unionizing of the coal industry and describes in detail the infamous Lattimer Massacre of 1897. Rafferty does well with introducing a lot of characters while making each side story its own interesting part. This book is highly recommended for those looking for European immigration-themed stories—in particular, Hungarian. It’s obvious the author has done in-depth research and was able to put together an excellent narrative!"




PJ Piccirillo, author of The Indigo Scarf, wrote the following review for The Road to Lattimer by Virginia Rafferty.


Why aren’t there more novels like this one, where decent people take on an indecent world and through much tragedy, the power of human dignity and love for one’s family shine through? Heartfelt, sincere, lovingly rendered, The Road to Lattimer is the story of humankind as much as of America, where no kind of persecution can, in the end, defeat the will of good people.


These are endearing characters set in an authentically researched world of 19th century commoners as they take on the uncommon challenges of raising families in the midst of feudal lords, spoil piles and robber barons. Read this book. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will find a favorite character, as I did. And then you will be better for reading The Road to Lattimer, for you will have learned the plight and agonies of the people who forged the opportunities we enjoy today as Americans.


Andy Brooks

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent enjoyable reading

September 21, 2019

Another fine historical novel by Virginia Rafferty. This story describes the immigration of families from Eastern Europe to the coal mining region of Eastern Pennsylvania. Historical events have been included in the story line. The description of coal mining in the late 1800's captures the hazards of coal mining in the late 1800's as well as the extensive use of child labor.


Robert D Freel

5.0 out of 5 stars   A great story about a topic not normally written about.

September 30, 2019

If I were to be asked would I recommend this book to someone who would like a great read I would say "YES". I found this book a very interesting for someone interested in historical fiction or just a great story. It is a well written story with characters based on real people and actual historical events. Having come form a family that also has a mining back ground I was very interested in the day to day struggles that the characters had to endure. This book shows how people were treated as less than human at times. I also found it interesting how one class of immigrants looked down on the other and treated them as lower life forms. I realize that this is historical fiction and is driving force is more about the story than actual fact. But what could have made this book more interesting to me personally would have been a more detailed picture of living conditions, the march itself, and the end result ie how did it change their lives as far as working and living conditions. I look forward to reading more from this new and exciting author.


Jed Grossman

5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a story that I could not put down.

September 13, 2019

This gem of a story richly portrays the life and trials of immigrants who left their troubled lives in eastern Europe to find a better life in America, only to find that their new lives in the coal towns of eastern Pennsylvania were desperately poor, difficult and treacherous,
both in and outside the grueling and dangerous mines. Yet somehow they and their dignity survived, despite the constant poverty, resentment and hatred they were forced to endure. This novel is based upon historical facts, including actual ancestors of the author, as well as the infamous 1897 massacre of 19 peacefully marching miners in Lattimer, PA. The character development is so real and touching that I felt I was right there with them. The story brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. A beautiful and moving piece of work with a masterful insight into the lives of immigrant coal miners and their families. This novel can and should be made into an awesome movie!


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Jean R. Lorrey

5.0 out of 5 stars Great story

September 23, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

Just finished the book. What a great story, with such interesting characters.. It must have given you a great deal of pleasure finding out about your relatives and the events that shaped their lives, then weaving them into such a dynamic
tale. You must be proud of their early attempts at unionizing. I loved it!


JV in NH

5.0 out of 5 starsWell researched and well written.

October 13, 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Well written book that gives us a real sense of what life was live for the immigrants(and non-immigrants) who worked in the coal mines. Mrs. Rafferty did her homework on this one!


Fast reader

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Enlightening

October 19, 2019

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

I felt like I was living the life of these characters.


Amazon Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put this book down!

October 19, 2019

Format: Paperback

In her second novel, Ms. Rafferty beautifully writes the stories of four immigrant families and their interwoven lives as they courageously make the choice to seek better lives in America during the late 1800’s. It’s a story of survival that transports the reader to the realities and struggles encountered by many immigrants who came to America to work. Set in the patch towns and coal mines of Pennsylvania, this story is one that could apply to many peoples and the industries that employed and, in many cases, exploited them.
Because of Ms. Rafferty’s brilliant use of descriptive wording and use of various writing techniques, the characters became real to me. I was able to relate, and feel their fear, frustration, strength, and ultimately the love that made it possible for them to survive. For me, the actual, historical events described in this book were no longer just a note in an historical account. These were real people with real dreams and this was vividly described in this book.
I highly recommend this read, and very much look forward to Ms. Rafferty’s next novel.

Ben Edwards

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story!

November 4, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

The book is based on an actual event in American history. Using fictional characters, Ms. Rafferty brought the story to life. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.



5.0 out of 5 starsWhat historical fiction is all about

November 6, 2019

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

Ms. Rafferty’s book reminds us that these “small” stories are an important part of the intricate web of relationships our country of immigrants has always had with its people. Her obvious emotional connection to the events shines through for each of the four couples featured in the book. It is clear that Ms. Rafferty has used her background skills in the carefully researched details of Eastern European immigrants of the late 1800s. It is equally clear that she has had experience in transforming complex ideas into concise narrative. This is what all historical fiction should strive for- entertaining while informing.
David R. Ossont, co-author of The Ghosts of Saratoga

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