The Clark Inheritance by Sophia Yarnall is a 237-page hardcover published by Walker and Company, New York, 1981. The dust jack has minor wear and small chipping to the top edge along the back cover. The cover has tight, squared binding and inside, the pages are clean and crisp. The condition is very good.
Both Fred and Dexter Clark are well-educated men of substance and social standing. They have lived lives of ease in mid-nineteenth century Philadelphia society. But at their father's death, they willingly leave their luxurious homes to venture into the barren hills of Northwestern Pennsylvania to fulfill their grandfather's vision and their father's dream that the Clark anthracite mines would one day flourish.
When they arrive in the dreary town of Clarkston, the two Clark families face the awesome responsibility differently. Jessie, Dexter's childless wife, eagerly hopes to be a partner in his plans to cultivate the mines. She works hard to build a hospital, establish schools, and improve the miners' lives. Fred's high-spirited and glamorous wife, Elyza, cannot accept her bleak existence in Clarkston, and whenever possible returns, with her daughter Anna, to Philadelphia's glittering social life. Only crippled Danny, Fred's son, foresees a future in the mines, and works toward helping his uncles develop them. In the end, however--whether they embrace the new life or run away from it--not one of the family members is left untouched by the traumas and tribulations that the mines represent.
For fifty years the Clarks live side by side. Their shared responsibility brings them together and tears them apart. But in the midst of it all, the mines are ever-present--machinery roars and clangs in their ears day and night; coal dust seeps into their curtains and rugs. And, inexorably, the once impotent labor unions of the early 1800s grow stronger and unite Irish, Hungarian, and Polish immigrant groups in bitter fury against what Dexter and Fred have always regarded as their benevolent patriarchy.
Sophia Yarnall has recreated the stormy atmosphere of a coal-mining community and its people. Her story is a chronicle of love and tenderness, of turbulence and violence, of happiness and new beginnings, and of sorrow and tragic endings--all bound together by a single thread of fidelity to an obligation which is meant never to be broken.