Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district, they lose much more than just their store.
The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire--he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.
Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father's innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.
What a sensory treat for the readers! From the opening chapter, Jocelyn Green took her readers into the smoke and flames and allowed them to emerge from the ashes by the end of the story. Green does a fabulous job at allowing readers to grasp the horror of the Great Chicago Fire on a personal level. I really enjoy the mystery aspect that intermingled with the rebuilding of each individual character's lives. From forgiveness and PTSD, Green sprinkles in elements that are even popular today to empathize with a number of different readers. Romance occurs between two sets of characters, but it really wasn't overwhelming. I didn't feel like it was the guiding force for the story Green needed to tell. Instead, it was the reconstruction of lives and hearts. I really enjoyed spending time with this story, and I can't wait to see what book number two in this sage entails. Fans of Elizabeth Camden or Green's other works should pick up this novel.
I received a complimentary copy of Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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