Playing St. Barbara

By Marian Szczepanski

Historical fiction, Literary fiction, General fiction | Paperback, eBook


The big coal strike of 1928 ends, yet crosses still burn. Angry miners plot. Company policemen stalk and spy. Miner’s wife Clare Sweeney hides bruises inflicted by her husband, a forbidden friendship--and her real name. Her three daughters harbor secrets of their own. Each knows (or guesses) only fragments of the others’ unvoiced stories. Their intertwined lives eerily mirror the 7th century legend of St. Barbara, patroness of miners, reenacted annually in the town pageant. Tested by scandal, heartbreak, and tragedy, each woman will write her own courageous ending to St. Barbara’s story.



The granddaughter of immigrant coal miners, Marian Szczepanski grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania and lived as a young child in the coal company house where her mother and aunts were raised. She holds an MFA in fiction from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and has won awards for short fiction and magazine feature writing. Playing St. Barbara is her first novel. She lives and teaches creative writing workshops in Houston, Texas.



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