August 29, 2013

Book Review: Into the Whirlwind

Of all the inspirational fiction books that I've read (even the ones I chose for fun) this summer, I think this one might be my favorite...so join me in reading my review of:
Into the Whirlwind (Kindle Edition)

This novel is set in Chicago in October 1871--the year Chicago was forever changed by the Great Chicago Fire. This book thrusts you INSTANTLY into the inferno with it's opening paragraph and that is ALWAYS a sign of a good book!
A wall of fire towered over Mollie. The city of Chicago had been burning for hours, the scorching wind stirring up firestorms that barrelled down the narrow streets and illuminated the night sky. It was getting hard to breathe. Smoke and ash hung in the air, coating Mollie's throat until her thirst grew more painful than the blistering heat. The crush of people jostling to flee northward made it hard to even keep standing. The city Mollie loved so well was being destroyed... (Camden, 5)
See?? How can you put it down after reading that?! I couldn't!

This book starts on the day of the fire...but then backtracks to five days before the inferno began and reintroduces the main characters and what events led them to be together on the day of the fire. It catches back up to the day of the fire and then continues on from there.

Mollie is the owner of a specialty watch factory who inherited the company from her now deceased father. They sell to a big department store in town--one of the few places which takes their handmade expensive fine watches. One day she gets a visit from the store lawyer who announces she has just days to decide whether or not to sell her company to the store. Her employees are all broken veterans of the Civil War--men who fought side by side with her father, so she worries about their employment status should she sell. And her own...what will she do if she sells when it's all she's ever known? And then she discovers a secret about the department store which changes the ball game...and she and the young lawyer begin going head to head...

Now add to this the sparks between Mollie and the lawyer Zack (who we learn has been in love with Mollie for quite awhile), the devastation of the Great Chicago Fire, the rebuilding of the city--and Mollie's company--in the aftermath, and the arrival of competition from a northern factory which uses machines to make fancy watches like Mollie's and you've got yourself quite the story!

I appreciated the vivid descriptions of life for the citizens and business owners after the fire--the author states at the end that she tried to make it as close to fact as she could in that aspect.

The plot never really slows down and I felt that there was great buildup of each character. You don't learn everything all at once about them--it's revealed in pieces as you go through the book and I find that much more intriguing.

I absolutely recommend this book to any historical fiction lover out there---but especially those who also enjoy inspirational fiction in general. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House as part of their book review bloggers program through Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
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