Cover Image: Veiled in Smoke

Veiled in Smoke

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This is the first book by Jocelyn Green that I have read and she is definitely an author whose books I will want to pick up again. I thought this book was a great depiction of the Great Fire of Chicago. I thought she did an amazing job at showing up how both people deal with trauma. I also loved that there was both a mystery to solve and romance. I also loved how as the characters relied on God he could help them with their individual problems. I look forward to reading more books in this series.
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A fascinating, suspenseful, engaging read set during the Great Fire in Chicago. Compelling characters, exciting and page-turning action with twists and turns and an excellent capture of the setting and individual problems of each main character. I felt like I knew and understood each of them. And the hope thread throughout was masterfully woven in. Kept me turning pages from beginning to end, and occupied my thoughts when I had to be torn away. Highly recommended!
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As soon as I saw Jocelyn Green had released another book I requested it from NetGalley. Miss Jocelyn has a way of making history come alive in the most dynamic ways, and I've learned so many cool facts from her books. 


Once I had downloaded the book and actually paid attention to the cover, I was struck by two thoughts 1) That the cover was one of my favorite of all time and 2) That the book must be about the Great Fire of Chicago. It turns out I was right (which I would have known if I would have read the back cover), so I put the book away for several months so I could get into the right mood to read it. I'm not sure why it is, but the Great Fire has long been in my top three least favorite periods/events in history to read about. 

Eventually, I felt ready to delve into the book, so I began reading and was reminded once again why I like Miss Jocelyn's writing so much. Much like when I read A Refuge Assured, this book was able to take a time period that I intensely dislike, and turn it into an interesting story. 

We have four points of view that we follow, and the story is written in third person. We follow passionate and loyal Meg, logical and then infatuated Sylvie, calm and inquisitive Nate, and high-strung and desperate Stephen. Meg's story was the main focus, although she only gets a little more page time than the other three.

There are so many little details in the story that makes the time period come alive - like how dead birds, overcome with smoke, fall from the sky during the fire. Reading that description transported me from a cold spring day in Ohio to a dark night surrounded by chaos and flames in Chicago. I highlighted a couple of other descriptions as I read them, delighted by Miss Jocelyn's word choices.

Clouds of dust turned her skirt a sepia tone below the waist, as if she were climbing out of a daguerreotype. 

The moment of his need and her meeting it was embroidered on her memory in shining thread. 

In addition to her lovely writing, Miss Jocelyn's books always stand out to me because of how well researched they are. Plus, her plots are never dull, filled with enough momentum to keep the reader intrigued but never enough to overshadow the character's growth and development. There's a whole mystery to delve into, plot to uncover, and truth to find. The plot twists didn't shock me, but they were well-written. 

Based solely upon personal preferences, this book was not one of my favorites. I'm very aware that each element I disliked is probably a reason someone else would like it, and that's the beauty of reading a wide range of books and authors. 

The things I disliked in Veiled in Smoke include: 
-Stephen's narrative. He has great character growth, and I see the importance of his story, but it wasn't for me.
-One of the characters is hurt in the fire, and although I think it added a very important element to the story, was tastefully written, and assuredly did not add too many details... Well, I'm very squeamish about little things like the words scar tissue (yes, that's silly of me, I know), and so that part of the story made me grimace. 
-As mentioned before, the time period isn't one of my favorites, so that sadly took the book down in rating for me. That doesn't mean that I think the book isn't well-written, researched, or executed, it just lowered my enjoyment of the story. 


Although this story wasn't a personal favorite, it was clean, free from too many details regarding violence and destruction, and tackles some pretty serious things with grace. 

It takes place during a huge fire, there's chaos, people die (and are killed), there are injuries, homelessness, pain, suffering, one of the characters has some pretty serious PTSD from the Civil War. Plus, the book features an insane asylum. Despite all that, the book isn't overly dark - although obviously, it isn't light and fluffy. 


I’m giving Veiled in Smoke 3 out of 5 stars, although if I didn't dislike the time period so much it probably would have gotten a higher rating. I'm thankful for NetGalley for sharing a copy of the book with me.
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Set during the backdrop of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, this book tells the story of a family torn apart by catastrophe, mental illness, and deceit.  Meg and Sylvie have enough to worry about before a horrendous fire consumes their beloved bookstore and city.  Their father had come home from the Civil War several years ago with "Soldier's Heart" which had made him a changed man.   When fire overcomes their city, the girls become separated from their father.  After the flames have been distinguished, they discover that something horrible has happened to him. While a city rebuilds itself, the sisters hope that their family can be reunited once again.  

I spent many months anxiously waiting for this book to be released and it was well worth the wait.  I love reading historical fiction books in which you can learn about American history while reading about fictional, yet believable characters. It's not very often where you read a book and you feel like the climax of the book is so close to the front of the book.  Because of the fire scenes, it didn't take long for me to get wrapped up into the welfare of fictional characters as they face life and death situations. (Please please let me learn more about their lives in future books of this series, Jocelyn Green.) It's actually been a couple of weeks since I read this book, and I'm still thinking about one of the characters in particular and what is going to happen to them! 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the pleasure of reading and reviewing this book.  All thoughts expressed are my honest opinions of the book.
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I felt like I could relate to all the emotions and challenges the sisters were feeling and I attribute this to the gifted writings of the author.

There was a lot going on in this book – like crazy amounts of pressure and so many issues to resolve – but it worked. The mystery surrounding the crime wasn’t unexpected, but the journey to the final resolution kept you with a niggling little grain of doubt – maybe you knew, maybe you didn’t, and even a conviction that you were right, but you didn’t quite get the how. All figured out and tied up in a neat bow by the final chapter.

Overall, I’d recommend this title as it’s set in a wonderful accounting of a great historical event (and I even learned something reading the author’s notes at the end….) It deals with so much more than just “the fire” while creating not-always-likable-but-very-real characters in some devastating circumstances. Great descriptions, good flow, and elements of surprise lead to a well-rounded, but intense, piece of fiction with some hope, some heartbreak, some history.

My thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a complimentary download of this title via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.  Full review:
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This beautiful story intertwines two devastating historical events into one amazing story. We come to see the effects of the American Civil War and The Great ChicagoFire within one family as they learn to live with internal and external scars. Filled with historical details and a sweet romance, this book is a wonderful read.
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Oh.  My.  Goodness!  This book has such an intensely emotionally gripping storyline that I admit I stayed up way too late one night to finish it!  I absolutely loved the characters in this story and found myself drawn to their struggles and crying with their trials and losses, but also celebrating with their hopes and dreams.  There was a surprising twist of mystery throughout the novel as well that kept the story interesting.  I also really liked the research and details the author described regarding the asylums and treatment of those with mental struggles after the Civil War.  I love that this author is not shy about gritty topics!  I loved that the story had parts that did not work out perfectly, because it made it believable and likeable, but it also had an overwhelming story of hope that ended satisfactory.  I honestly cannot recommend this book enough! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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Jocelyn Green takes us back to a warm and dry autumn in Chicago in 1871, and introduces us to the Townsend family. There's artist Meg and bookstore clerk Sylvie, and their father Stephen, who suffers from what we would recognize today as PTSD from his service in the Civil War.

Then one October night a fire breaks out and burns a great deal of the city, including the Townsends' home and business. As if that loss wasn't great enough, legal troubles and injuries hound them, forcing them to rely on others as well as the mercy of the city.

Can they ever reclaim their lives and rebuild what was lost? Or will greater tragedy follow all that has come before?

If you've read Jocelyn Green's other books, you know her stories are deep dives into history. She thoroughly immerses you in the sights, sounds, and emotions of the time period. I read this book slowly, as it was a little intense in its presentation of issues relating to family, mental health, murder, fraud, injury, etc. Also the larger-than-usual number of point of view characters kept me from getting invested in all of them quickly, though I appreciated what each one brought to the table. 

I would recommend this for fans of historical fiction, as long as they are aware that this is a heavy story. It's a good one, but be prepared to encounter the difficult topics.

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own.
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Veiled in Smoke is a richly detailed story of sisters, family, love, and trust. Set during a fascinating time — featuring the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871 and the reconstruction period after the Civil War — it features a city and a family making sense of their lives in the aftermath of loss and destruction.

The many complexities of this novel are revealed at a steady pace along with the development and growth of characters. Meg, Sylvie, Nate, and Stephen share chapter points-of-view and convey the tension and emotions of events well – especially during the fire evacuation. From the dynamic of sisters to a love of literature, the trauma and aftermath of Andersonville prison, a couple new friendships and hints of romance, the way all of these elements work together is a feat in itself. This combined with a subtle mystery and suspense thread makes for a wonderful work of historical fiction.

A slight romantic element is there, too. While it is slowly explored from roots of friendship between the characters, it feels organic to the setting. Now I can talk about Nate! He is SUCH a likable gentleman. His character really shines a light on the theme of sharing everyday life with loved ones, with all its burdens and joys.

Author Jocelyn Green depicts history in a relatable way that always shines a light on unique or lesser-known aspects of the world. In a sense, this gives the past a voice, even in fiction. I’ve enjoyed each and every novel of hers I’ve read (3 to go!). Veiled in Smoke is just as enthralling and enjoyable. Its themes of second chances, trust in God’s unchanging nature, and the strength of love come to life along with the bustling city of Chicago as a backdrop. I am looking forward to the next book in this series — especially catching up with these characters and their bookstore!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.
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Wow, I appreciate this author’s gifted writing style as she drops readers in the middle of a catastrophic event so they can experience the situation along with her characters. I instantly felt for the two young ladies who try to help their father, Stephen deal with the horrific events he experienced in war and in his stay at Andersonville Prison. Things get even worse when a fire breaks out near their home. I was delighted that the main female characters Meg, and Sylvie owned a bookstore, named Corner Books and More, but then very sad when things caught on fire. It was tragic to imagine the chaos, the tremendous sadness, and the feeling of hopelessness weighing heavy in the hearts of so many. It wasn’t total despair as there were a few that saw hope in the ashes.

Its mind blowing the depth and complexity of this amazing story and terrible event. The facts came through Chicago Tribune reporter, Nate Pierce, who originally blamed the fire on Miss O’Reiley and her cow, The author shows that aspect and some through artist Meg Townsend who saw things differently than her sister Sylvie, who had been affected by the fire and suddenly could relate to her father’s condition similar to PTSD.

I loved the characters, felt for their living conditions, and was amazed by the murder mystery that was woven into the story; it was a great surprise until the very end. Not only was everyone homeless and trying to rebuild their lives but this family had to piece together what little they had to find the murderer, if they failed it would put an end to any chance they had of rebuilding their home and their lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed the note to reader with all the historical notes and facts she put into the story. I love learning about history this way. I highly recommend this for a book club pick. The author includes ten helpful discussion questions in the back of the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog
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Wow, I’ve always been a fan of Jocelyn Green’s works, but this one takes the cake! What a wonderful retelling of the Chicago Fire of 1871, with such detail that I felt I was there too.  This fast-paced novel was one I was reluctant to put down and time just flew as I was reading! I loved the character development; at times I was rallying on the side of Meg, other times for her father Stephen, and there were even periods where I had sympathy for Sylvie. It’s evident of the author’s extensive research not only on the fire, but also the post-war mental struggles of what was called “soldier’s heart”, we now know as PTSD, which Stephen endured. 

I found the author’s notes and discussion questions at the end very insightful.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and was under no obligation to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.
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5 Stars: 5/5 Star Rating
        I was blown away with emotions as I read this book!   It was that good!  I could feel the raw emotions of Meg and Sylvie and the deep pain and grief they were experiencing over their father, Hiram, their home, their bookstore, and their city! Meg had even more to grieve after burning her hands and suffering permanent scars.  How will they ever recover ?  Will they ever be able to get their father out of the Insane Asylum?  So many unknowns loom for the young sisters and yet, they fight on bravely and with great courage.  
         I love historical fiction and this book really brought the horrors of the Great Fire of Chicago alive.  It also highlighted "soldier's heart" of the POWs of the Civil War which we now refer to as PTSD.  Many were committed to the insane asylum for life due to the horrors they experienced in the war when there were acceptable treatments available.  The inhumane treatments of patients at the time will leave chills on readers.
        I received a digital ARC of this book from netgalley and Bethany House Publishers.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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Veiled in Smoke, The Windy City Saga, book 1
This Christian historical novel deals with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and its aftermath. It also includes a murder mystery, a tiny bit of romance and heavier issues of Civil War PTSD called Soldier’s Heart, and how people were treated in asylums when deemed insane or a danger to themselves and others. The main characters were extremely likable (they own a bookshop!) but the mystery was easy for me to figure out early on despite the red herrings. At over 400 pages, I also  thought it was a little too long and I personally could have done without the extensive PTSD storyline. I thought the writing was excellent and the story was very good with a satisfying ending.
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I love a Jocelyn Green novel. She comes up with some of the best storylines. I’m excited that this is the beginning of a new series, too.
I really don’t know much about the fires in Chicago so reading this was very interesting and informative.
I could relate to Meg and what was taken from her (I won’t tell  you what it is), but it is a fear I deal with, not the exact same thing but something similar. I hoped throughout the book she wouldn’t loose her spirit and hope. I was curious to see how it would all play out.
I enjoyed Sylvie’s character as well. She was spunky, yet often felt overlooked.
I had my suspicions of what might have happened the night of the fire but Jocelyn did a great job of placing enough doubt about what really happene that it kept me wondering until the end.
If you enjoy historical romance or Jocelyn Green’s novels I am sure you will but thrilled with this one.

A copy of this book was given to me through All opinions are my own.
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Chicago, 1871. One little spark will change everything...

Author Jocelyn Green has become a staple in my Christian historical fiction reading. I've read all, but I think one, of her novels. I've been looking forward to Veiled In Smoke since I first heard about it last year, and then when I saw that lovely old fashioned tinted photo style cover I was even more excited. 

I've known about the Great Chicago Fire for a long time, not the nitty-gritties but the basic overview of facts, and yes, I knew that despite the Johnny Horton song Mrs. O'Leary's cow was not “the one to blame.” Recently I'd read a few articles about the storm of fires that appeared over several states around the same time as the one in Chicago. So, this is interesting stuff to me. 

I loved how Jocelyn Green brought all of the threads together, things that hadn't really come to mind when thinking about the Great Chicago Fire. For instance, did you realize that the fire occurred only SIX years after the end of the Civil War? I hadn't thought about it all. Can you imagine the PTSD that would be triggered by the trauma, in civilians and veterans alike? Veiled In Smoke asks all of those questions, and a lot more, and through the power of fiction brings them to life in vivid smoke-drenched color. 

Once again, Jocelyn Green treats her readers to historically accurate fiction that will immerse you in early 1870s Chicago and leaves you fully invested in the characters lives. Veiled In Smoke is beautiful story, though tragic at times, of family, faith, and putting the broken pieces back together into something different, but stronger than before. There's plenty of danger and drama, heartfelt moments, some romance, and really good murder mystery thread. It's a great read and I am really looking forward to the next book in The Windy City Saga series...

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
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This book is pretty much everything I could ask for in historical fiction all wrapped up in one neat package. First of all, it’s set against the backdrop of an actual historical event: The Great Fire of Chicago. I love experiencing actual historical events through fiction. Secondly, it deals with an issue that was as relevant then as it is today: PTSD, particularly PTSD experienced during war and its impact on both the sufferer and the carers. Thirdly, it has an element of mystery. I’ve always been a sucker for a good mystery! And fourthly, there’s a romantic thread to the story. And Nate is such a gentleman.

But more than all of that, it gave me a story about flawed but relatable characters who grow in compassion, strength, and faith because they persevere. They persevere as they rebuild what was destroyed by the fire. They persevere as they seek to discover the truth behind the death of their family friend. They persevere in their efforts to have Stephen released from the asylum. And Meg, in particular, perseveres as she adapts to new limitations caused by injuries sustained in the fire. Most of all, they persevere in their belief that God is in control, even when His children are not.

As always, Jocelyn Green’s writing effortlessly transported me into the world of the story, and Meg, Sylvie, Stephen, and Nate all became dear to me as I journeyed with them, their individual stories touching me in different ways. If you enjoy thoughtful, well-written historical fiction, then this is one author you need to have on your shelf.
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The story of The Great Chicago Fire is blended expertly with the struggles of two sisters and their father, who is suffering from the aftermaths of the Civil War. An interesting mystery also manages to weave its way into this historical fiction.⁠

Veiled in Smoke is a book you won’t want to miss. Not only is the cover of this book beautiful, but the story is too.

Stephen, Meg and Sylvie’s father, has come back from the war a completely different man. Being in a prison camp during the Civil War has left him cautious and paranoid. He is always watching for enemies so it’s not unusual for him to patrol their roof at night, looking for the enemy. It is known to many that he is out of touch with reality. So during the Great Chicago Fire when Stephen’s friend is killed with Stephen’s gun, it only makes sense to officials to tuck Stephen away in an asylum. This experience is eye-opening regarding the treatment of those considered harmful and insane at that time.

The story describes various activities that might have happened in Chicago, including selling relics from the fire. But these things are expertly intermingled into relationships and a growing mystery. Meg and Sylvie, who run a bookstore, are sure that their father would never have killed their family’s friend. But can they prove what really happened while trying to rebuild their home and store after the fire?

What Concerned Me
While the mystery did add interest to the story, it was slightly, and I go heavy on slightly, disappointing.

What I Liked Most
The story and characters were interesting, plus I liked the many references to the fire in Chicago
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"Veiled in Smoke" is a Christian historical romance mostly set in October to December 1871 in Chicago. The historical details focused on the Great Fire, the rebuilding, the struggles of the survivors, the Civil War (especially the prisoner of war camps), how the traumatized veterans were treated, and about what the insane asylum was like. These interesting details were woven into the story.

The main characters were interesting and reacted realistically to events. The romance between Meg and Nate progressed from friendship and spending time together into romance. They supported and helped each other and worked well together. I was disappointed by the mystery, though. I was able to quickly figure out whodunit and why, though it was realistic that it took the characters a while to piece it all together. However, the confession didn't seem to entirely match the facts that had been gathered throughout the story. The murder seemed to consist of a series of highly improbable circumstances, all happening during a citywide fire.

Several main characters learned to trust God to help heal them from trauma. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to fans of historical romances.
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Meg and Sylvie Townsend live with their father, a war veteran, running a bookshop. But the Chicago fire takes almost everything from them separating them from their father, and when the smoke clears a man has been murdered and their father the main suspect. 

Meg must clear her father's name before it's too late. 

Slow to start, it took awhile for me to really get into this one, but once it all began coming together for me I couldn't put it down. Compelling, it realistically brings to the life the struggles that the people faced during and after the Chicago Fire. I also liked how it talked about the lack of understanding of mental illness related to soldiers, as well as how the hard times brought Meg and Sylvie closer together as sisters. 

Meg is a strong heroine who has lost much, but still is courageous and perseveres in the light of hardship. I liked how she grows through her faith and also her artwork. She and Nate, a journalist, work together to clear her father's name. Nate is motivated and supportive of Meg throughout, I like how their friendship grew as they got to know each other better. 

A lot happened in the second part of the book, and I really enjoyed it as we got to see the struggles faced by so many after the fire, as well as how Meg fights for her family. I admired how both Meg and Nate are strong in their faith, holding on when things look bleak. Nate is a good man, who is very conscientious of printing only the truth, and has sacrificed much for his family. 

Overall, a well done historical novel, that digs deep and is full of faith. Well developed characters and a great plot, though it took a while to get into. Well worth the time. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Jocelyn Green is a master at story telling and research!  Her stories are SO well thought out and put together.  Veiled in Smoke is a fantastic beginning to her Windy City Saga.  There are some heavy issues addressed in this story, and they're handled with grace and tact.  The Townsend family, Meg, Sylvie, and their father Stephen own a bookstore in Chicago when the Great Fire occurs. Their entire store is burned down and Meg suffers burns on her hands.  It's such an immense struggle to try and start over after losing everything.  Stephen suffers from, what we now call, PTSD after serving in the military and being a POW.  Reading his story was quite moving, especially the parts written from his point of view.  When the fire breaks out, and there is complete pandemonium, Stephen's dear friend is murdered and he accused of it.  Meg makes it her mission to prove her father innocent and discover who the real murderer is.  I really enjoyed how the plot line moved along and the mystery of whodunit!  It's an excellent story, written extremely well, and I cannot wait to read book two in the series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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