Author: Jocelyn Green
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Windy City #1
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 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 was murdered on the night of the fire. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.
Though homeless 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.
Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
"We will thank God as soon as we can."
Devastated barely begins to describe Meg and Sylvie Townsend's demeanor after losing virtually everything but their lives following the Great Fire that swept through the streets of Chicago like a demonic locomotive in the fall of 1871. Their home and their business gone. Their battle fatigued and mentally fragile father lost in the masses.
Finding respite in the home of a family friend, the disappointments continue to multiply when they discover that their father has been accused of murder and subsequently committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum. Being the oldest, Meg bears the weight of responsibility, determining to paste the fragments of her family back together, while struggling to accept life with new physical infirmities of her own. Adamant about her father's innocence, she is less certain about the damage to his mind being reparable; the scars attributed to his Andersonville imprisonment run deep. Leaning on a Chicago Tribune reporter for advice, Meg and Nate Pierce proceed cautiously towards unearthing the facts about the night that changed everything. What they find could prove to be as damaging as what they lost.
Beautifully written, brilliantly plotted, and intentionally populated with one of a kind characters, "Veiled in Smoke" proves that what is born from the ashes can transcend the original; to God be the glory.
"I am not afraid of the storms, for the One who made the sea is in my boat with me."
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Reviewer: Winnie Thomas
"I'm not afraid of storms, for the One who made the sea is in the boat with me."
With a setting in Chicago in 1871 during the time of the Great Fire, Jocelyn Green once again makes history come alive with Veiled in Smoke, a story of great loss and tragedy along with hope, reconstruction, and growth. Having lost almost everything they owned in the fire, Meg and Sylvie and their father Stephen Townsend must rebuild their lives both physically and emotionally. The author deals compassionately, but realistically, with Stephen's PTSD/Soldier's Heart disabilities from fighting in the Civil War and his captivity and deprivation afterward, and the struggles his family has while trying to help him.
Green's richly detailed descriptions and obvious deep research enhance the story greatly. Her colorful and complex characters come alive on the page with all their strengths and brokenness. I especially loved Meg's strength in fighting through her physical limitations after the fire and her devotion to helping her family. Nate Pierce's compassion and tender help to Meg's family is very touching.
"We can never be who we once were because we keep changing and growing. We're not defined by our hurts, but by God's grace, we can overcome them."
If you're looking for a story rich in history, suspense, emotion, and inspiration with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure, you'll enjoy this beautifully written tale. Threads of courage, hope, faith, compassion, and love of family are deftly and seamlessly woven throughout the pages. This book is bound for my keeper shelf while I try to wait patiently for the next in The Windy City Saga series.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author through Bethany House and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green is an engaging story set against the backdrop of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Her cast of characters are well developed and provides an interesting glimpse into the horrors of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in this case, referred to as "soldier's heart." Stephen Townsend's mind still entangles him with the brutality he endured during the Civil War. At times he can't seem to discern reality from his nightmares. His daughters, Sylvie and Meg, disagree on how best to help their father. On the night of the fire, their worst fears about his sanity come to fruition (or so it seems). With the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce, they soon begin to unravel a horrible plot aimed to keep their father locked up in an insane asylum.
But that is only one part of this incredible tale that will keep you riveted. The aftermath of the fire leaves artist Meg badly burned and her sister Sylvie showing PTSD symptoms. Add to that a murder the police arrest their father for, and you have a book that will keep you up for hours.
The mystery, romance and spiritual elements, along with the historical accuracy of the period and attention to detail, make Veiled in Smoke a book you want to put on your to-be-read list!
I received this book courtesy of Bethany House through NetGalley.
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