A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska is a fictional diary written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. It is the eighteenth book in Scholastic's Dear America series. It was published in July 2000 and followed by Mary Pope Osborne's My Secret War in September.
- "For Elaine, who has hart ducha"
- "Sadowka, Poland
Midnight, after the Rooster's Crow
The words in Tata's letter grip my stomach like a fist. Tata isn't coming home. He wants us to come to America! Tata told me about a coal miner named Mr. Stanley Gawrych who wants a young bride from the old country. So Tata told this Mr. Gawrych that I am young and fit for marriage. I have had good family training and know all I need to take care of a house and a husband. So now Mr. Gawrych has agreed to marry me. Tata promises that we will make a good match. In return, Mr. Gawrych has paid for our passage to America. "Oh, Babcia," I cried. "How could Tata have done such a terrible thing? I don't want to be a coal miner's bride... I don't want to go to America... to marry a man I do not love."
In 1896, Anetka Kaminska lives Sadowka, Poland, which is occupied by the Czar's army, with her grandmother and younger brother Jozef. She meets a soldier named Leon Nasevich, whose bold personality initially causes her to dislike him. Her father, a coal miner in America, later writes home to inform them that he has arranged Anetka's marriage. She has no wish to marry someone she does not love. A sergeant learns that Anetka is teaching the village children Polish, which is outlawed. Leon saves her, though they now have to flee immediately.
After a sad goodbye to her grandmother, Anetka, Josef, and Leon take a several days journey to a ship which will take them to America. On board, she befriends Jerzy and Lidia Lewandowski, whom are also travelling to Lattimer, Pennsylvania. During a dance on the ship, Leon kisses Anetka despite her impending marriage. She and Jozef are separated from Leon upon arriving in America. They reunite with their father in Lattimer, where Anetka meets her future husband Stanley Gawrych, a widower with three daughters. A few days before the wedding, Anetka discovers Leon was only detained and has now settled in Lattimer.
In late July, Anetka and Stanley are married. Leon causes a stir by kissing Anetka's hand after dancing with her. Over the next few months, she is busy taking care of the household duties and Stanley's daughters, Violet, Rose, and Lily. The younger two take to her quickly, but Violet is very obstinate. On top of that, Anetka wishes to grow closer to Stanley, who is cold and often gruff with her. He eventually changes after learning he has called Anetka's by his first wife's name while intoxicated. However, he dies only a few days later in a mining accident.
A widow with three children, Anetka takes in boarders to pay off Stanley's debts. Not long after, she finds a badly injured Leon, whom she nurses back to health. He then starts to board there as well. Leon, now a worker for the United Mine Workers, increasingly advocates for the miners to go on strike. Anetka, who has grown even closer to Leon, is worried though she takes side. In September 1897, Leon and the other miners go on a strike which turns deadly. An injured Leon returns home two days later and tells Anetka that he loves her.
- Main article: List of A Coal Miner's Bride characters
- Anetka Kaminska, a thirteen-year-old girl living in Poland. Her father arranges her for her to marry a coal miner in exchange for her and her brother's passage to America.
- Leon Nasevich is a soldier in the Czar's army. He enjoys teasing Anetka, who he accompanies to America. There he becomes an advocate for the coal miner's union.
- Main article: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Susan Campbell Bartoletti (born November 18, 1958 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) is an award-winning author and former teacher. She authored her first book in 1992 and became a full-time writer in 1997. A Coal Miner's Bride was her first book for Dear America and was her only until the publication of 2013's Down the Rabbit Hole. Bartoletti also wrote The Journal of Finn Reardon for My Name Is America.
For the book, Bartoletti researched the Lattimer massacre, Polish culture, and spoke to Polish immigrants about their experiences. She used the women in her life as inspiration for Anetka's character and qualities.
- NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People (2001)