Monday, March 2, 2020

Review: Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

To Purchase

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.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book that I have read about the Great Chicago fire and what an atmospheric read it is. Taking place not too long after the Civil War, sisters Meg and Sylvie are trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives along with carrying for their father who is having PTSD issues from being a prisoner of war. They support themselves by running a bookstore and Meg is a talented painter that helps supplement their household.

Devastatingly, a fire sparks that brings total destruction to Chicago, and Meg and Sylvie barely make it out alive. They lose everything. Even their plot of land during the aftermath is in jeopardy. But more than the loss of their property, their father Stephen is taken away to an asylum and accused of murdering his dear friend. With no visitation and no way to get their father a fair trial, Meg and Sylvie must rely on their own wits along with newfound friend Nate, who is a reporter and Jasper who was a bit of a mystery to me.

I have read many books about asylums and at times this story evoked great pity and anger and anguish in regards to the unfair treatment that Stephen received. Granted this was before the awareness of PTSD, but the asylum's were evil places and inhumane in their treatment of the patients. 

I enjoyed stepping back into a historical moment and time and witnessing through the eyes of these characters the horror that could only be overcome by their faith and love for each other. There is a thread of romance along with the mystery of who the real murderer is. I had my suspicions, but the twists and turns prevented me from being absolutely positive.

This is the first of the series for this family and I am looking forward to continuing reading about their journeys. 

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

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