Song Hawkins is a beautiful, tough, but lonely New York City businesswoman who thinks she's met the man of her dreams in Cable Jordan, the superintendent of a West Virginia coal mine. But soon after they impulsively marry, Song realizes they're in big trouble. She can't imagine life outside of New York, and Cable has no intention of leaving his beloved town of Highcoal.
Song's visit to the little mining community only makes things worse. It looks like the marriage is over. But in a shocking turn of events, Song realizes it's up to her to put on the red helmet of the new coal miner and descend into the deep darkness. There she faces her greatest challenge with choices and courage that will forever impact the life of Cable and the entire town.
The latest from Rocket Boys author Hickam takes an inside look at coal mining, from shoveling gob to negotiating international trade deals, through the lens of modern romance. A half-Korean New York rich girl turned takeover specialist for Daddy's company, Song Hawkins falls for Cable Jordan, a macho West Virginia mining manager. After a whirlwind wedding, she lasts four days in Cable's town of Highcoal, W.Va. (pop. 624), unable to rough it without her brand of cosmetics or low-fat meals. She likes Cable's house and artisan furniture, though, and she still loves Cable. After learning that her father has acquired the company that owns the Highcoal mine, Song returns to see for herself why the company isn't meeting quotas and signs on for beginner miner's training. As she encounters the camaraderies, rivalries, satisfactions and dangers of mining, Song works on solving a murder along with saving her marriage. Hickam's secondary characters including a folksy wisdom-spouting preacher, a busty Botoxed ex-girlfriend, and a meticulous MSHA safety inspector narrowly escape caricature by showing their human side during the climactic scene. Love may conquer all, Hickam suggests, but in a coal mine you also need good engineering.