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"The immigrants arriving from Eastern Europe were unbothered by the smoky haze smothering the region. To them, it signaled opportunity and the promise of a better future."

"She’d convinced herself that tolerating Henry’s advances was more bearable than being groped by filthy drunks at the boarding house."

"Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash exudes atmosphere and intrigue and gripped me from the very first page…. The storytelling in this novel is second to none, telling a gripping story of the struggle immigrants faced, whilst keeping twists and turns you won’t see coming that serve to keep the story engaging throughout."

READERS' FAVORITE, 5-star review

"A gripping, immersive story of immigrant grit in early-twentieth-century America. Set against the grim backdrop of Western Pennsylvania’s steel mills and coal mines, Tammy Pasterick weaves an engrossing tale of poverty, desperation, and betrayal. Above all, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash is a tale of overcoming tragedy and the transformative power of love. Pasterick’s deftly wrought prose is nothing short of sublime." 

TONYA MITCHELL, award-winning author of A Feigned Madness

"Drawn from the author’s family archives, this richly wrought family saga invites readers inside immigrant coal mining communities in early-twentieth-century Western Pennsylvania. Gritty and riveting, Pasterick’s debut novel exposes the depths and lengths humans go to protect honor, family, and love."

ASHLEY E. SWEENEY, award-winning author of Answer Creek

"Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash is a riveting, graphic etching of the impossible choices and unthinkable consequences forced upon early-twentieth-century immigrant workers by a bigoted society bent on ensuring they had no other options. Pasterick's vividly empathetic page-turner brings together an ensemble cast by turns relatable and reprehensible, drawn from a family history that could belong to countless American families. Heart-wrenching, yes, but don't turn away from this one. We have to read stories like this to truly know who we are as a nation."

ELLEN NOTBOHM, award-winning author of The River by Starlight

"At the turn into the twentieth century, immigrants were forced to accept the most dangerous jobs to sustain their families. This is the unforgettable story of one such family, struggling to survive against unimaginable odds and heartbreaking challenges in the cruel mines of Pennsylvania."

KATHRYN JOHNSON, award-winning author of The Gentleman Poet

"The novel's structure presents many short chapters from different points of view, giving energy to the complex exposition, which addresses topics such as mental illness, infertility, rape, and postpartum depression."


"Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash tells the compelling and very human story of working-class immigrants in early-twentieth-century America. Meticulously researched, the author’s compelling account captivates the reader while providing insight into the harsh and harrowing experience of immigrants coming to this country. In doing so, the book highlights the enormous strength and sacrifice required of those who came before us."

PAUL F. CLARK, Director and Professor,

School of Labor and Employment Relations, Penn State University

"The novel presents a striking portrait of the constant danger and risks associated with immigrants working in the mines and factories of early-twentieth-century industrial America."


University of Maryland Global Campus 


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