Family Moves from Country to Big City in Joyce Van Haren's New Historical Fiction
"On Woodward" (published by Abbott Press), the new historical novel by Joyce Van Haren, shows that it is more gratifying to work in an honest career, no matter how humble the work is, than to seek out admiration and money by working at something untrue to one's beliefs.
"On Woodward" is the story of young artist Alma May Combs and her family who, in 1930, flee to Detroit from the dangers of Kentucky coal mines, where her coal miner father was nearly killed twice in methane explosions. The novel spans 14 years, and covers the triumphs and tragedies of the Combs family as they live through and are affected by the Great Depression and World War II, all while experiencing prejudice for being, as Van Haren says, hillbillies.
An excerpt from "On Woodward":
"'There ain't nothin' wrong in your wantin' to be successful in paintin' and makin' lots a money, long as you go about it right.' Her mother's voice was getting louder. 'An' as far as you 'startin' to meet some important people'-them people ain't our kind a people, Alma May. We're hillbilly people. Since we came to Detroit City you've been gettin' a big head.'"