A Family Matter
By Kathleen R
Sep 1, 2007 - 6:17:45 AM

Young Salina Graves uncovers a shocking letter addressed to her from her recently deceased mother.   Her mother’s letter refers to a journal, also mailed to Salina, but the journal is missing.   According to the letter, the journal details lies told by Lyman.   The letter reveals that Salina’s sixty-year-old husband, Lyman, the owner of the Poseidon Coal Company, placed undeserved blame upon her father, a miner in his profitable company, for a fatal mining accident.   Consequently, their tightly knit mining community turned against her father and drove him to suicide.   Salina believes Lyman had intercepted her father’s journal and confronts him.   In his domineering style, he tells her no one would believe her father’s diary over him.   He reminds her of all he’s done for her including her mother’s nursing home care in an Alzheimer facility until her death.    A phone call about a mining emergency gives him an excuse to end the conversation.

When Lyman enters the mine, it caves in and leaves him in a comatose condition.   At the request of Salina, Lyman’s estranged son, Mick, arrives at his bedside.   He meets his beautiful stepmother who is close to his age and berates his father’s cheapness for not maintaining stability within the structure.   She needs Mick’s help to run the mine, and he puts off graduate school until his father’s health improves.   As Mick and Salina work together and live in the same house, these two young people are romantically attracted. They restrain themselves from having intimate relations.   Lyman mysteriously disappears from the intensive care section of the hospital.   Seen together by the sheriff, Mick and Salina are suspected of attempted murder of Lyman.


Mick’s mother had left him at the age of three, and he still carries the loss of her betrayal.   Salina takes on accounting work at the mine.   Looking through the paperwork, she discovers a will.   Lyman’s entire estate is left to a woman with a Greek name, Iphegenia.   When Salina mentions her name to Mick, he is upset.   Who is this woman, Iphegenia?   If Salina finds the journal that implicates Lyman Graves as a criminal, what effect will it have on Mick?   What will she do with the stepson she loves?


A FAMILY MATTER is sure to become a mining story classic.   Marsha Briscoe depicts miners with traditional, tough attitudes as they risk their lives.   Some miners believe that protection from unions is unmanly, and Briscoe knows them well.   Her unforgettable characters speak with a genuine Kentucky dialect.   In addition to her amazing backdrop of the 1970s, Briscoe writes a crisp tale of a relationship between two star-crossed lovers along with a coldhearted man’s futile attempt to control his world.    Twists, turns, tantalizing forbiddances, and a surprise ending had me engrossed throughout.   I highly recommend A FAMILY MATTER to all my friends, especially those who enjoy Greek allegories.   The romance is a reminder of the enticing Phaedra myth.



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