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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Lilith Mary Brown grew up in Plainsville, Pennsylvania. As the daughter of an affluent business owner, they expected her to follow the rules of etiquette. Lilith, a wild spirit refusing to conform, narrates Jeanne K. Johnson’s novel, My Search For Air. Lilith often disappointed her mother and lacked nurturing skills. Miss Fanny moved to Plainsville and started the Plains Press. Lilith looked up to the woman who wore trousers and didn’t go to church. She befriended Miss Fanny and found that she could speak without worry when she visited her. Gregory J. Wentworth moved to Plainsville and bought the coal mines. Miss Fanny and Lilith pair up and begin reporting on the poor conditions that the miners and their families endured. During a town dance, Lilith finds she has become a target for Wentworth’s desire for a mistress. Lilith refuses to let Wentworth rule her life and fights for the rights of the miners.
Jeanne K. Johnson portrays the lifestyles of the elite and the poor in great detail. I agreed with Lilith’s view of her parents as being very condescending. Their claims of being descendants of prestigious families sounded absurd to me. Miss Fanny was my favorite supporting character in the story. She influences Lilith in such a profound manner and was the person who inspires her to become more than just a domestic housewife. Wentworth is a despicable man and the epitome of a villain. The narration by Lilith is full of details, making the scenery and the people come alive in her tale. The shocking conclusion made me wish for more. I hated putting this book down as the suspense when Lilith fought for justice for the miners was intense. Readers who enjoy reading about the start of the Women’s Rights Movement and worker unions will enjoy the colorful portrayal in My Search For Air.