The general setting for Cecilia and Albert's story is Ontonagon County, in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan. It's located in the upper northwest corner of the U.P., right on Lake Superior.
Basically, one of the primary reasons the U.P. was settled (other than for lumber) was for it's large copper deposits. Ontonagon County was one of the many counties where numerous copper mines were operated. Both Cecilia and Albert's families settled in the U.P. after emigrating from England. (Both families of origin were from the Cornwall section of England, where there was a long history of tin mining activity. But when the tin mines there started to "dry up," many workers came to Michigan in the 1800's to the get the new, but already familiar jobs available at the new copper mines.)
Albert grew up within a mining family and started working in the mines when he was still a child.
While Cecilia's father was not a miner, her grandfather was. Thus, she grew up in Ontonagon County, surrounded by a culture that was completely dependent upon the success of the mines.
Ontonagon County is a beautiful area, but it's rugged and cold, even by today's standards. It's also very sparsely populated; an area that has many "ghost towns" from mining days long gone.