A beautiful and exceptionally gifted city girl meets a rugged and handsome coal miner, their electrifying attraction plays havoc with their common sense when they marry on the beautiful island of St John. It is only the wedding night that they begin to consider the realities of their incompatible careers and lifestyles.
MIT and Princeton educated, Song Hawkins is the only daughter of the wealthy business magnate, Joe Hawkins and the Property and Acquisitions Manager for Song-Hawkins, Inc. She has never met anyone quite like West Virginian born Cable Jordan, Superintendent of the Highcoal mine, born with mining in his blood. Cable is captivated by Song’s beauty and brilliance and doesn’t contemplate for a moment that Highcoal, population 624, will not captivate her as it does him.
The unique people of Highcoal, dependant on good coal from the mine for their livelihoods, are stumped when their beloved Cable returns with his designer dressing wife and battle lines are drawn. The dirt, smell and enormity of the mine overwhelms Song and she finds nothing in common with the locals, dampening the newlyweds devotion to eachother. Hightailing it back to the comfort of her home in New York, Song resigns herself to the death of her marriage but she doesn’t count on her interfering father or the pull of uncovering why one of Song-Hawkins businesses is failing – the mine at Highcoal.
Red Helmet is a love story, not only between a man and a woman, but a town and its mine. Homer Hickam excels in describing the hardships of the mining life as well as the intricacies of coal mining and the feats of engineering required to maintain the supply of coal – America’s lifeblood. Wonderful characterisation abounds, from Song and Cable to each of the unusual men and women that contribute to this story. The plot is fascinating as Song and Cable struggle to maintain a marriage of opposites, as danger looms from the risks of mining and then from a more vindictive and vengeful source. Song’s baptism of fire as a new miner, a Red Cap, is eye opening as Hickam’s love for the coal mines, miners and their families bleeds from each page. Red Helmet is gritty, edgy and confronting and honours the sacrifices too often made by mining communities everywhere. Red Helmet will appeal to both men and women as it entertains, educates and enthralls.
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