The Flames Took So Much.
She Can't Lose Her Father As Well.
Meg Townsend and her sister, Sylvie, seek a quiet existence managing the family bookshop. Meg feels responsible for caring for their father, Stephen, whose spirit and health are both damaged from his time as a prisoner during the Civil War. Her one escape is the paintings she creates and sells in the bookshop.
Then the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district. The fiery explosions and chaos stir up memories of war for Stephen as he runs from the blaze and becomes separated from his daughters. Days later, when the smoke has cleared, Meg and Sylvie manage to reunite with him. Their home and shop are lost, and what's left among the ashes may be even more threatening than the flames, for they learn that a close friend was murdered the night of the fire--and Stephen has been charged with the crime. After he is committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum, where they cannot visit him, Stephen feels as lost to them as the shop that now lies in rubble.
Though homeless and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life but prove the truth of what happened that night, before the asylum truly drives her father mad.
The historic Chicago Fire that I have heard about all of my life comes alive in Veiled in Smoke, as author Jocelyn Green describes the blazing inferno, the feelings of desperation as people tried to escape, and the overwhelming efforts to rebuild the city. Green also relates the personal family drama centered around Civil War veteran Stephen Townsend and his two daughters Meg and Sylvie, as they suffer property loss and become separated during their rush to escape. This intriguing story includes an insane asylum, a charge of murder, and the sister's efforts to clear their accused father's name. Reporter Nate Pierce and the nephew of the murdered man also play important roles in the Townsends' story. Will this Civil War veteran be acquitted? Is there a conspiracy to be uncovered? Can the city of Chicago ever fully recover from this horrendous event?
If you enjoy historical fiction, sweet romance, a mystery to solve, and a wonderful story of faith and perseverance, you will want to read this book. Veiled in Smoke is a story that you won't soon forget!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I am voluntarily sharing my honest thoughts in this review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOCELYN GREEN
- Your last book, Between Two Shores, is set in colonial America and explores the Seven Years’ War and the tension between the British, French, and Native Americans. What inspired you to go a later into the 19th century and write about the Great Fire?
- What kind of research went into this book?
Other than the historical research, I also consulted with an art professor, bookstore owner, psychologist specializing in work with combat veterans, surgeon, and physical therapist to help me get other details right in my characters’ personal journeys.
- Which character was your favorite to write?
In Stephen’s case, they weren’t doing great, and their struggle was gut-wrenching and isolating. By giving Stephen his own scenes, readers get to understand his mind and heart, and inside the Cook County Insane Asylum and its misguided methods treating what they referred to as “Soldier’s Heart.” The symptoms would be in line with what we now call PTSD.
- This is your first novel in The Windy City Saga series. Where do you see the series going from here? Are there other aspects of that time period and place besides those in Veiled in Smoke that you are excited to explore in your next books?
- Are the novels in this series classified as mysteries?
Readers will discover that these novels have an element of mystery to them, but they remain firmly in the historical fiction genre. The main priority of the story, as ever, is given to the developing characters and the history-in-the-making around them.