Veiled in Smoke
by Jocelyn Green
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Pub Date 04 Feb 2020 | Archive Date 04 Mar 2020
Bethany House, Bethany House Publishers
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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 137 members
This book was received as an ARC from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.
This book was really intense and it got very deep and spiritual at parts too. My heart was hurt, broken and warm all at the same time. PTSD and mental illness is a topic that runs very strong in my heart and this was the definition of banning together and doing whatever it takes to save your family. Meg and Sylvie will stop at nothing to rescue their father and prove his innocence and save their family once and for all. Sisterly love and family bond is what it takes to save the family. This was a really powerful book that everyone in some way shape or form will connect with this book.
We will consider adding this title to our Christian Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
VEILED IN SMOKE is the first novel in The Windy City Saga by JOCELYN GREEN, and I am really looking forward to the next books in the series. The story takes place at the time of the Great Fire of Chicago, and is one of both loss and restoration. It is a gripping story of two sisters, who, against all odds,
fight for justice for their father, a veteran of the Civil War, whose experiences in the war and in a POW camp have affected him very badly and who has been charged with murder and placed in an insane asylum.
In spite of the heaviness of the theme, there is a strong message of hope. The author gets us involved with the characters as we see their faith in God being tested and refined by what they go through.
It is a book that I cannot recommend highly enough, for the exciting story, well researched history, great characters and strong Christian message.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
What an exciting story!!! A very clean, but exciting story of two sisters and their father who is struggling with his survival of Andersonville prison camp during the civil war..Nate, a reporter from the newspaper, enters their life and he finds he is deeply attracted to Meg, the oldest sister. The younger sister, Sylvie, meets the young and handsome nephew of their family friend, but is he everything he seems? The great fire of Chicago, a murder, a lost will, all comes together in this tale of mystery, with a love story entertwined. Great writing makes for a fantastic story that keeps you guessing until the very end!!!
The Great Chicago Fire
The great Chicago Fire of 1872 changed the lives of many people. It destroyed over 17,000 buildings killing 300 and leaving 100,000 homeless.
This is the story of one family, the Townsend family, and how their lives changed after the fire. It is also a mystery because there is the murder of a family friend of whom Mr. Townsend is accused during the fire.
The daughter's Meg and Sylvia must find a way to solve the murder and prove her father innocent. Nate a friendly reporter they meet during the fire helps them solve the mystery.
The devastation of the fire and how the people of Chicago dealt with it and rebuilt is amazing. Life goes on long after great catastrophes are long forgotten.
I love reading about these times in history that impacted so many and are now lost from memory. I loved the characters, the book was well written and I would recommend it.
Thanks to Jocelyn Green, Bethany House Publishers, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of the book.
A must-read if you like authentic historical fiction! When I picked up my first Jocelyn Green book, I was hooked. I proceeded to read all the books she has written. I love her stories and frequently find myself googling the history she writes about after I finish her books. Veiled in Smoke grabbed my attention and never let go. Her real portrayal of the awful Chicago fire practically had me looking over my shoulder ready to run. The story of Meg & Sylvie Townsend and their civil war veteran & Andersonville prison camp survivor father Stephen is both heartbreaking and hopeful. I learned that what we now call posttraumatic stress disorder, was historically known as soldier's heart in veterans of the American Civil War. Author Jocelyn Green excels at research and storytelling, making every story she writes very interesting and meaningful. As I read about Meg's burn injuries and the slow and painful partial healing to her hands, my right hand and wrist are healing from 1st and 2nd-degree burns from a scary kitchen grease fire. I decided you really don't need to experience what the characters experience to love the story! Meg had to adjust to a new normal. She recalled her mother's prayer "There is beauty in the imperfect too. You are a God who uses broken vessels. You are not afraid of human limitations or scars." All of the Townsends are each on their own difficult journey learning about what matters most: faith, family, and friends. I highly recommend Veiled in Smoke for all historical fiction lovers and for all who enjoy a great story. And stay tuned at the end for the Author's Note with further information on the true history found in this book. I love this part and am so glad she includes it at the end of her stories.
What a sensory treat for the readers! From the opening chapter, Jocelyn Green took her readers into the smoke and flames and allowed them to emerge from the ashes by the end of the story. Green does a fabulous job at allowing readers to grasp the horror of the Great Chicago Fire on a personal level. I really enjoy the mystery aspect that intermingled with the rebuilding of each individual character's lives. From forgiveness and PTSD, Green sprinkles in elements that are even popular today to empathize with a number of different readers. Romance occurs between two sets of characters, but it really wasn't overwhelming. I didn't feel like it was the guiding force for the story Green needed to tell. Instead, it was the reconstruction of lives and hearts. I really enjoyed spending time with this story, and I can't wait to see what book number two in this sage entails. Fans of Elizabeth Camden or Green's other works should pick up this novel.
I received a complimentary copy of Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.
....I’m not afraid of storms, for the One who made the sea is in my boat with me. - Meg’s mother
The opportunity to learn more about little known historical events is one I greatly appreciate. Once again this author does not disappoint, weaving a story around the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that puts the reader right in the middle of this horrific conflagration. The refining of the various characters was incredible to follow as they all strove to become better versions of themselves. The resilience of the survivors as they immediately start to rebuild portraying a tapestry of hope that never dies, the entrepreneurship of the young and the faith that all things could be new was woven throughout this fabulous novel.
Meg, Sylvie and Stephen own the Corner Books & More - a wonderful shop filled with books of all ages. While Stephen repairs the rare books, Meg spends her time painting scenes from the old masters. Will Stephen’s unfortunate war-time memories from his tenure in Andersonville change the course of this life as well as that of his daughters? PTSD is real and I appreciated the sensitivity the author used when writing how this can affect a lifeWill the Great Fire permanently scar this family?
‘The story isn’t over yet - we never know what the next chapter holds. God is working and things are happening even when it’s not written on the page right in front of us - Meg
I received an ARC through Baker Publishing Group and NetGalley. The comments, impressions and 5 star rating are my own and were in no way solicited.
The Great Chicago Fire was quite a moment in American history. Almost a third of the rapidly growing city burnt down, destroying over 17,000 buildings. With a city in ruins, thousands upon thousands were left homeless. What did they do? Rebuild. Fast. Veiled in Smoke tells a story of a family in this very setting. I learned quite a bit of history reading this book. I also have to say that Jocelyn Green handled the topic of PTSD better than any book I’ve ever read. Good, biblically accurate, spiritual lessons were interwoven throughout the story and didn’t sounding preachy. As for areas of improvement, I found the book to be a little on the slow side. I also found the romance, while not necessarily the focus of the story, failed to capture my interest. That being said, I’d recommend this book to historical fiction fans.
I've always been a fan of Jocelyn Green's stories because she is such a phenomenal storyteller!!! (Yes all the exclamation points were necessary ;) So when I started reading Veiled in Smoke I was immediately captivated by her imagery. She painted the scenes with such amazing strokes of brilliance that I could almost smell the smoke of the Great Fire of Chicago and see its devastation.
The characters were well-developed and beautifully flawed. And can I just say that Stephen's journey brought tears to my eyes on SO many occasions. His war-shattered heart made me root for his wellness. (BTW I love that Jocelyn tackles sensitive subjects like PTSD with delicate grace.)
And now let me gush over Nate! His cleverness balanced with his tenderness made him a hero to be celebrated! I love that his thirst for the truth never overran his reasoning. He was fair, loyal, and all things swoony.
I also loved the sisters, Meg and Slyvie. Their sibling relationship was authentic and beautiful. It was moving to experience their young hearts be strengthened through the difficult trial. Their characters were literally forged through FIRE!
All in all this story was poignant, exceptional, and will forever be in my heart. Well done, Jocelyn Green.
Persevering in the face of tragedy:
An interesting yet somewhat depressing tale. It tragically deals with the fire that destroyed much of Chicago
as well as PTSD and the terrible treatment of those with mental health issues. However it also highlights the resiliency of the residents and how many were able to persevere by relying on their faith. It was a reminder that when all seems hopeless God is there, He cares and intervenes on our behalf.
Whilst I enjoyed the elements of mystery and intrigue; I generally found it slow going and tedious and felt it was overly long at 416 pages.
I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
"Veiled in Smoke " by Joselyn Green is the first in the Windy City Saga series. Stephen Townsend is a POW of the Civil War. Stephen has a bad case of post traumatic stress and struggles to come to grip with the horrible events He saw. He suffers with nightmares and anxiety. It is sad to see how traumatic the war was on him. The book shows the Great Chicago fire. The people involved had to run for their safety. It was very difficult to survive the bad fire. Also those that survived struggled to get their lives back including housing, work , safety after the fire. The book is so well written and researched. The reader will feel like they have lived through the difficulties of the fire. I commend Joselyn for a well written book. She has received the Christy award and a gold medal from the Military Writers of America.Thank you to the publisher , the author and netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book. I hope the book is very successful.
Veiled in Smoke is an intriguing work of historical fiction set in 1871 Chicago. Those who are familiar with Chicago history will recognize this as the year of the Great Chicago Fire, and that is a major event in this story. As sisters Meg and Sylvie Townsend struggle to make ends meet with their family bookshop, they also try to deal with their traumatized father, a Civil War veteran. In the aftermath of the chaos of the Chicago Fire, their father is accused of murder, and is committed to an insane asylum. With the help of an intrepid newspaper reporter, will the sisters be able to find the real killer? Filled with a wealth of historical details and the interwoven themes of redemption and mercy, the plot is compelling from the start. This book, the first in the author's Windy City Saga, would be an excellent addition to any inspirational historical fiction collection.
Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green is a terrific historical fiction book of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The story starts with Stephen Townsend, a POW of the Civil War, and his two daughters. Meg and Sylvia help manage their family bookstore. The story turned out to be more of mystery than I expected, which kept the pages turning. Throughout the book the Brontë sisters are mentioned, which is perfect timing as I am rereading Jane Eyre and listening to Romancing Miss Brontë. The book begins with this quote...
”To all those who feel wounded by loss and pain. May God bring you beauty from ashes. The strength, if strength we have, is certainly never in our own selves; it is given us.” —Charlotte Brontë
The books has great historical information of the times and the tragic fire, suspense, hope, and romance.
God can bring beauty out of ashes!
"To provide for those who grieve...to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes." Isaiah 61:3
Thank you NetGalley and Bethany House.
Oh, my heart! There were so many aspects of this story that I adored. I was thoroughly impressed with Green's attention to historical detail and her ability to make me feel as if I were living through the Great Chicago Fire myself. I also applaud her in her tender, yet honest handling of PTSD ("soldier's heart") in Civil War soldiers.
The beginning was a little slow for me, making this fall just short of a 5-star rating. However, I was completely invested in the second half of the book and couldn't put it down. Fans of historical fiction will LOVE this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel via NetGalley and courtesy of the publisher. All expressed opinions are my own.
I was totally captivated by Jocelyn Green's fictional account of Chicago's Great Fire. Through her skillful pen, Ms. Green's lyrical prose transported me to the fire. I could hear the bells ring of alarm, feel the heat and hear the crackling of the fire, see the colors of destruction, the birds falling out of the sky as the masses fled. Her historical research is top-notch, not only of her account of the fire, but of the plight of the many soldiers who still suffered physically, mentally and spiritually years after the end of the Civil War.
Her pen brought to life a brilliant cast of characters in Stephen Townsend and his daughters, Meg and Sylvie. Their separate journeys to find healing for the various wounds and scars they hid tugged at my heart. One of my favorite quotes in this story of hope rising from destruction is:
" We're not defined by our hurts, but by God's grace we can overcome them. We are transformed."
This is a book for the keeper shelf. I am looking forward to reading more in the Windy City Saga. This reader appreciates the faith thread of hope and resilience that can be found when one relies upon God.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
"There is beauty in the imperfect too. You are a God who uses broken vessels.
You are not afraid of human limitations or scars."
Veiled in Smoke is the first book in a new series written by Christy Award winning author Jocelyn Green. This book is set in Chicago during the time surrounding the Great Fire. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed reading this book, although my absolute favorite Jocelyn Green novel is still The Mark of the King.
The depth of research done by Jocelyn Green always adds authenticity to her novels and makes them leap from the page. The fire itself was portrayed in such detail and descriptive prose that I could picture the fire in my minds eye and almost feel the heat on my skin. Her characters are multi dimensional and had many obstacles to overcome before and after the fire. Like us, the characters are not perfect. They struggle mentally, physically and emotionally as the residents of Chicago pick up the remnants of the life they once knew. A bit of romance and a murder mystery kept things interesting. I always enjoy trying to solve "who did it" before the characters do. This book reminds us that life is ever changing and we are but clay in the hands of the Master Potter. He can make something beautiful out of the broken...all we have to do is let Him. If you enjoyed reading Into the Whirlwind, by Elizabeth Camden, then I think you will enjoy reading Veiled in Smoke.
Veiled in Smoke will be available for purchase from your local or online book retailer February 4, 2020.
Thank you Bethany House and Net Galley for the free copy of Veiled in Smoke. The opinions expressed here are my own.
“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 and Bethany House and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Jocelyn Green’s Veiled in Smoke is full of historical detail, rich imagery, and engaging characters. From the beginning of the novel, Green creates empathy for Meg and her struggle to cling to what remains of her family. Her sister Sylvie is not only a practical foil to Meg’s emotional journey but another view of the wounds the Civil War wrought on American families.
This post-Civil War drama reaches past the tensions between North and South, Confederate and Yankee. Instead, Veiled in Smoke focuses on the mental toil soldiers faced in the aftermath of war. By exploring the war that continued at home, Green’s novel can touch a chord with many readers whose loved ones suffer with PTSD.
Patriarch Stephen’s experience with this misunderstood condition is juxtaposed with Sylvie’s response to the horrific Great Fire that ravaged much of Chicago. Sylvie is thrust on an emotional journey to better understand her father. And through this, the reader gets a better understanding of the different forms PTSD can take. There is much discussion on what constitutes insanity. Stephen’s experience in the asylum is a bit disheartening. But mostly because it leaves the reader questioning their own understanding of PTSD and other mental illnesses.
The fire scenes are gripping and pull you into the tragedy. But for me, the most compelling part of the novel was the aftermath. Sylvie’s grit. Meg’s unflinching support. Nate’s search for the truth. Stephen’s war with the ghosts of his past. Their stories entwine to show that Southerners weren’t the only ones trying to rebuild after the war.
And although Meg can come off as a bit naive, it’s hard not to root for her to help her father. Sylvie’s angst can come off as a bit hardhearted, but her hurt comes through in her strained relationship with her sister. Their relationship provided the most compelling arc, in my opinion. But the romance is just as engaging.
As heroes go, Nate is one you can root for and swoon over. From the moment he walked onto the page, I loved him and wanted to know more about him. His devotion to his step-siblings not only provides an interesting arc but also fleshes his character out better than paragraphs of description.
Overall, Veiled in Smoke is a well-written tale of a family’s struggle to adapt in post-Civil War Chicago, showing that a family tested by fire can either break or come out stronger.
(Review will go live on the blog on Feb. 4)
One of the things that I most enjoyed about Jocelyn Green’s writing is the way in which she seamlessly weaves interesting historical facts into an engaging plot. I appreciated this well researched book which put the Great Chicago Fire and the aftermath in context. The realistic and flawed characters were refreshing, as they struggled with more than just the fire. The characters portrayed ordinary people who had to keep going despite devastating loss. As friendships and family relationships are tested, deeper lessons are learned and healing begins. Every reference to literature, simply added to my enjoyment. Rich with history, this novel is a must read. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
“It was a lie, Meg had realized years ago, that the end of the war meant the end of suffering.” The Civil War is over, and the boys and men who survived are home. Yet Meg and her sister, Sylvie Townsend, discover that Stephen Townsend’s time in notorious Andersonville has wreaked havoc with his grip on reality. Meanwhile, Nathaniel Pierce of the Chicago Tribune interviews Stephen as a veteran. Life becomes murky when the city catches fire and Stephen’s best friend is murdered, leaving Stephen the cops’ main suspect.
Jocelyn Green is an expert at creating historically accurate and intriguing backgrounds while painting in-depth portraits of her characters. Both Meg and Sylvie exhibit intense loyalty and love for their parents, as well as a great need for their approval. Unfortunately, their understanding of their parents’ love and care is limited by the blinders they wear.
The young ladies also wear blinders when it comes to the young men in their lives. They cannot truly see the love, honesty, and true character (or lack thereof) of their beaux.
So many ideas and themes are presented. Forgiveness. The idea that it’s ok to be imperfect, and in fact, sometimes imperfect is better. Also, accepting life as it is, imperfect, not expecting it to be rosy or requiring others to be perfectly well or perfectly behaved all the time. (Ouch! Preaching to myself!!) True compassion. Sometimes we can’t achieve this until we’ve walked a mile in somebody else's shoes, or at least had a bit of hardship in life. Faith, believing God is limitless and truly in control.
Two more thoughts. It was hard to breathe as I traveled with Meg and Sylvie and Nate as they desperately tried to outrun the Great Fire. I could smell the smoke, my lungs felt full to bursting, and my anxiety level was high. And then many somethings began falling from the sky!
I had never heard of the term, “soldier’s heart.” How fitting. How sad. So many times, we, the civilians for whom those men and now women sacrificed, refuse to understand and accept with open arms our vets who return to us.
As usual, Jocelyn Green will have me thinking for a long time to come about people and their treatment of others.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher. No positive response was required. All opinions are my own.
Veiled in Smoke
By Jocelyn Green
Sisters Meg and Sylvie along with their dad are navigating life post-civil war. With Stephen suffering from undiagnosed soldiers’ heart (PSTD) the girls struggle to manage their household. In the midst of their family distress, the city of Chicago experiences the Great Fire leaving them homeless. Following the fire, their father is charged with murder causing an uproar of emotions from the sisters. Stephen is taken to an asylum. Life seems to be falling apart piece by piece but the girls are not alone.
Much is happening in this story but this was well written. There were wonderful twists and turns throughout. I loved the history of the civil war and the Great Chicago fire shared in this story as well. This was easy to enjoy but stimulating that I didn’t want to put it down.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review shared here.
Even though the Civil War ended ten years ago, and their father returned home, life for Meg Townsend and her sister Silvie has not returned to normal. Their father, Stephen, has left them emotionally—trapped in his memories of prison camp and battlefields. When their mother passes away, the young women take on the business of survival by running the family bookstore.
Meg, a talented artist, makes extra money selling paintings of her favorite authors, leaving Silvie with the burden of keeping their business solvent. Although once close, the two sisters have drifted apart over their disagreement of what their father needs. Meg believes he will heal with time and love. Silvie thinks he needs medical help, whether he wants it or not. Neither girl wants him sent to an asylum.
Their tenants seem increasingly perturbed by Stephen’s erratic behavior, but reporter Nate Pierce seems to see the hero beneath the shell of a man. Nate writes a flattering article about Stephen for a Chicago newspaper, and Meg hopes the story will help Stephen.
It doesn’t. When Chicago catches on fire, the girls must order Stephen to go out in the melee and find transportation to save their inventory. He freezes, leaving the girls alone. Nate comes to their rescue, and together the three make it to safety. They have no idea if they’ll ever see Stephen again.
When they finally find him, Meg believes things will turn around for their reunited family. But when authorities accuse Stephen of murdering his best friend the night of the fire, Meg’s world falls apart again.
Green pays meticulous attention to historical details—one of the things I enjoy most about her books. She also unveils the topic of mental illness and the stigma it carried (and still carries today). While we no longer commit those we don’t like or agree with to insane asylums, we often commit them to the fringes because we don’t want to make the effort to understand or offer true help for their illness.
The first in a series about the Windy City, Veiled in Smoke introduces a memorable cast of characters that readers can relate to.
Jocelyn Green writes another great book! I really enjoyed "Veiled in Smoke" (The Windy City Saga, #1) An intense and emotional story set during the Great Chicago Fire. About a family enduring disasters in their personal lives and relationships, unemployment and accusations of murder/insanity. The relationships between the sisters, Meg and Sylvie and their father, Stephen can be challenging. Each one handling their situations in totally different ways. There are great supporting characters too. Nate the reporter and Jasper the great-nephew.
This book is well researched with descriptive writing making you feel as though you are in the midst of old Chicago. There are a few scenes that are disturbing but very real. This book is well worth reading and I highly recommend it. I can't wait for the next book is this saga.
I received a copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.
First, can we just look at this cover? I love the colors and the feel of it perfectly matches the story within which is beautifully written. It is detailed, descriptive, and written in such a way that you can picture what is happening. The part of the story where the fire happened was so detailed and so tense that I felt like I was there! I was immediately drawn into this story and felt for the characters and what they were going through.
There are several points of view. This really worked for me because the transitions were seamless and I felt like I really got to know each character better as they were going through their individual struggles. While I liked most of the main characters in the story, Nate was my absolute favorite! What a great character. My least favorite character was Stephen - Meg and Sylvie’s father. I felt like too much of the story revolved around him and I wanted to read more about each sister.
The mystery was very well done. It kept me guessing until the end. I am looking forward to the next story in the series. I am hoping it’s about Sylvie!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Calamity Turns to Hope
Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green is set in Chicago during the Great Fire that swept through the city on October of 1871. The story focuses on the Townsend family whose bookstore is burnt to the ground during the fire. Sisters Sylvia and Meg care for their father who was a prisoner of war during the Civil War. Stephen now suffers from “soldier’s heart”, which is now known as PTSD. Meg is an artist, but during the fire she burns her hands while trying to save a treasured copy of Little Women that had belonged to their mother. The sisters are separated from their father during the fire. When the smoke clears, they discover that their father’s friend, Hiram Sloane, has been murdered and their father has been accused of the murder and sentenced to the insane asylum. The sisters seek the help of Chicago Tribune reporter, Nate Pierce, to prove their father’s innocence and free him from the asylum.
This is an outstanding historical fiction novel that also contains elements of a good mystery. The reader will keep turning pages to discover who is responsible for Hiram’s murder and does the missing will have anything to do with why and who murdered Hiram.
The characters are dynamic and their lives are transformed as they grow in faith through their adversity and trust God to make something beautiful out of ashes. There are many great quotes in the novel. One of my favorites is the encouragement Nate gives to Meg when he says, “We are not defined by our hurts, but by God’s grace we can overcome them. We are transformed.”
This is the first book I have read by Jocelyn Green. I was excited to discover that this book is book one in the Windy City Saga. I can’t wait to read more books by this author.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Historical fiction readers will love this start to the a new series by this author. The great Chicago fire and aftermath is described in detail through the Townsend family's eyes. Lots of historical facts, along with actual people made this an interesting novel. The treatment of "soldier's heart" was heartbreaking as Stephen strived to get better. I did feel the story was a little long and drawn out but very well researched. I learned a lot through this book. Recommended!
As a reader who enjoys historical fiction, this book hits the mark, and then some.
We are there for the great Chicago fire, and we learn facts about the survivors of both the fire and the Civil War, and also learn some previously held thoughts were not true.
Although this story is fiction, wow, it really could all be true and we meet those who were involved.
This story has a little for everyone, of course with the fire, we are shown survival, a bit of romance, perseverance. We learn facts about the building codes, I didn’t know about the bricks before, and all those luxuries we take for granted.
This is a story of survival, and we are shown folks that will do just about anything for just stay alive, that includes murder. I was quickly immersed in this book, and loved how they loved the Lord, and forgiveness rings true here!
You don’t want to miss this one!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
(4.5 stars) - "War makes monsters of us all" George R R Martin
This book is a historical inspirational mystery romance!
While this is not my usual reading fare, the description intrigued me enough to give it a try. It's not often that I read a book that checks off so many book categories and manages to be a credit to all of them. And though it's a serious story, it manages not to be grim or dark.
The story takes place within the historical setting of Chicago's Great Fire. Sisters Meg & Sylvie have been trying to cope with the wreckage of their family by their father's PTSD resulting from his traumatic imprisonment during the Civil War.
They worry about their dad's safety - and about the safety of others around their dad. So it's their worst nightmare & then some when the Great Fire destroys their bookstore and their dad is accused of murdering his friend.
Nate is a newspaper reporter who is helping the sisters. Especially Meg. They need to figure out who really did it in order to save their dad. However, over the course of their investigation, they will learn many things, including: it's fairly easy to appear to be a good person in the eyes of men; war leaves no one untouched; and all that really distinguishes the victim from the victimizer is circumstance.
The ending is impossible to explain without spoilers, but I'll say that it's open-ended, with a good portion of happy & hopeful for this story's main character focus. It definitely has me wanting to read book 2!
*Clean romance level: sweet kisses, nothing graphic
*Religion: overtly Christian, organic to the story, not preachy
Whenever I read a Jocelyn Green novel I know it's going to be impeccably researched.
Reading this I've been transported to the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871.
So many interesting facts learned not just about the fire and the Civil War.
We also learn a previously detail about the fire we have all probably heard has just been made up to see newspapers at the time.
The authors brings to life this time period with her vivid descriptions and we can feel the desperation of the characters as they are involved in this seemingly helpless situation .
The characters showing amazing resilience to get through all presented. The human spirit really is so much stronger than we realize with God's help we can pull through so much!
The depth of the story was unveiled layer by layer and I enjoyed getting to know the characters as their personalities unfolded.
This book really shines!
Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers
I was given a complimentary copy. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green
A thoroughly researched novel of The Great Chicago Fire. We follow two devoted sisters Meg and Sylvie as they are running thier bookstore after the civil war and right before the fire. It's always wonderful to read about characters who love reading and books. And that they love the work of Louisa May Alcott and Charlotte Bronte, who I love as well. They are taking care of thier veteran father who is suffering what was known at that time as Soldiers Heart but what we now know as PTSD. After the fire burns out, their father is accused of murder and sent to an asylum. Time is ticking down as Meg must free her father from the asylum, figure out who really did it, and pick up the pieces of thier shattered life.
The fire comes and takes practically everything from them. But then comes renewal and building of faith.
I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I love how Jocelyn was able to add real historical facts into this novel. It's actually something I love in books because I'm able to learn history. Usually I look into the events after I've finished reading a book to learn more!
Anyways...back to the book! I loved Meg's character, she was so likeable. Caring, tenderhearted, persistent, resilient just to name a few. Maybe I liked her so much because for once there was a main lead that didnt let her "disfigurement" distract her for long. Was she upset over her hands being severely burned, yes! But she did not let that stop her from picking right back up with her art or from falling in love.
This story had twists and turns and constantly had me guessing who the murderer was! Just when I thought I had it figured out, Jocelyn would throw in another twist that would leave me guessing again.
Veiled in Smoke was a wonderfully written book and I would definitely recommend this one!
Veiled in smoke
Jocelyn Green shows us once again how it is true that there is " no new thing under the sun." Families and people suffer today with issues, problems, just as they did in history. After any disaster there are the people willing to step in and help and those wicked who use suffering as a time to blame others and take advantage. The great Chicago fire left many without home or means to earn a living. The author does a masterful weaving of a story including history, mystery, and romance delightfully blended to give the reader much to ponder about how little some things have changed. Jocelyn never disappoints.
"Compassion she had discovered was not a bottomless well."
I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher and read a Net Galley e-copy. No review required- just freely given.
I loved this book!! I love Jocelyn Green's writing style as well! But I have to say that this book, Veiled in Smoke, intrigued me particularly, as I am from Chicago. We grew up learning about the Great Chicago Fire, Mrs O'Leary and her cow, etc. While it was a tragic time in the history of the city, Jocelyn Green turned this event into such a lovely character study amidst this horrid time. Just as Chicago rose again from the ashes, so do the heroes and heroines of this book. I love the romance between Nate and Meg. I have been to many of the sites Jocelyn Green cites, and I know of the rest...so it was neat to imagine my hometown as a step back in time. I enjoyed all of her literary references (e.g., the Bronte sisters) especially because I love books and bookstores (and have worked in them). The artist references are fun as well! And her dialague and detailed descriptions are spot on...puts one right at the table, so to write (e.g., Nate's unfolding silver from a napkin, dripping vanilla from a pie, etc. Awesome!!
I absolutely adore Jocelyn Green’s books, like A Refuge Assured. When I saw Veiled in Smoke, I had to get it. The book takes place in 1871, in Chicago. Sylvie and Meg are sisters. Meg is a painter and Sylvie runs her father’s bookstore. Their father Stephen, is a war veteran and has what doctor’s call a soldier’s heart, or what we know today as PTSD. One night, a glow shows up in the sky of Chicago. Only it isn’t a glow. It is a fire, a fire that would destroy almost the entire city of Chicago. As the fire rages around them, Sylvie and Meg become separated from their father. After the fires die down, they discover that their father has been arrested for murder by insanity and put into an asylum. Will they be able to free their father and rebuild their lives from scratch.
My god. This is an absolutely heart-wrenching read. There were multiple times throughout this book where I had tears streaming down my face. The backdrop is the Great Chicago Fire. The detail is both stunning and terrifying. The terror of the fire is palpable in this story. Even though the characters portrayed are fictional, they felt so real. Jocelyn Green is a master at producing real emotion within her stories. Growing up with sisters, I could really relate to the sisterly dynamic.
The aspect that had the most impact is the discussion of mental illness. Stephen suffers from PTSD from the Civil War, which is triggered by the fire. It really brings to light the pain and suffering felt by so many. In 1871, soldier’s heart was not really understood and many asylums were just meant to lock up patients rather than actually help them. Some parts of the story did get a little preachy. Not everyone will be cured by prayer but can be a comfort to some people. Everyone is different, and the author does dive into that fact.
Some people may find this book a little slow. Not me. I thought it flowed beautifully. There is suspense and a few plot twists that were quite jaw-dropping. This book is for those who love history or books that revolve around historical events. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a copy of this book!
This is my favorite Jocelyn Green book so far. I loved this story. It started right off as a page turner. It dealt with some heavy topics like PTSD and mental illness. The historical detail is so interesting. I loved this time period, and learning about the Chicago fire was fascinating. The characters were deep and flawed. I really ached for them through out the book. There was a mystery that kept me guessing as well. The whole story was really well done. Highly recommended!
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher for free for the purpose of review.
Veiled in Smoke is the first book in Jocelyn Green's new series, The Windy City Saga. Having read a couple of other stories from this author, I was excited to read this new book, and I was not disappointed. Green does an extraordinary job with the historical details about the 1871 Great Fire that blazed through Chicago. Emotions and reactions to the devastation are realistically portrayed through the characters as they write or paint about, or stressfully relive the horror. The book is rich in period details and historical flavor and is filled with well-rounded, vivid characters. Characters who are believable as all their flaws and foibles are portrayed, along with their strengths and humanity. The heartbreaking and poignant subjects of PTSD, or soldier's heart, as it was labeled in the late 19th century, and the care of the mentally ill are described with finesse and expertise. I enjoyed learning more about the Civil War and the management of prisoners, especially the policy of 'Galvanized Yankees.' The author has also included several pages of interesting and informational notes at the end of the story. One quote from the book, "We will thank God as soon as we can." resonated well with me. Sometimes in the middle of chaos, it is hard to give thanks but there is a hope present that we will be able to see beyond the pain and see His goodness. Veiled in Smoke is a complex and multifaceted story that reminds readers that God is in the business of restoration and that He uses broken people and situations to bring about healing and growth. With vivid characters, an action-packed storyline, strong spiritual truths, a climactic murder mystery, and a sweet romance, the author has penned an amazing story. Readers who enjoy historical fiction will not want to miss Veiled in Smoke. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing and was not required to write a review. The opinions are my own.
Veiled in Smoke
by Jocelyn Green
Bethany House Publishers
I urge you to read this book if you enjoy being caught up in a good story emotionally. Thanks to Net Galley and Bethany House Publishers for sending me the ARC of this book. I love Jocelyn Green as an author. The details are there and written in a compelling way.
Wow! This is another new favorite book of mine! Jocelyn Green has outdone herself again with this fabulous novel set in 1871 during the Great Chicago Fire that devastated a a huge part of the population.
This novel is very rich in historical detail, and even if I’m not an historian and I didn’t know much about this tragedy it seems so well researched accurate, so much so that I felt I was living the tragedy along with the main characters.
The story centers around the Townsend family which consists of Meg and Sylvie, two young sisters, and their mentally ill father, Stephen, who still hasn’t recovered from the scars from the Civil War, especially because of the trials he endured in Andersonville, a camp for prisioners of war from the Union Confederacy, to which he survived, but seems to live and relive all over again in his mind sometimes not able to distinguish the difference between the images inhis mind and reality. It’s what in our days we call PTSD, but at that time, it was called “Soldier’s Heart” and there was little experience on how to treat it well and help the patients to overcome depression, paralizing fear and lessen post traumatic effects that make them suffer so much (nightmares, reliving the past, guilt, etc).
Meg and Silvie both manage their father’s bookshop, as he is no longer able to, while taking care of him, but they barely make ends meet. Meg is an accomplished painter who is slowly gaining customers who like her paintings of characters from the classical literature. Amidst their daily struggles, the later known as the “Great Chicago Fire” rages their town and threatens their lives. As they fight to rescue their most important valuables, Meg gets her hands injured, and their father disappears with the few possesions they rescue and doesn’t come back to them. Thankfully, Nathan (Nate), a young journalist for “The Tribune”, once in charge of his stepsiblings and now independent, comes to their aid and leads them away from the fire. But so much is lost, their home destroyed… And the next day, they find out their father is taken to the city’s asylum for the mentally ill, accused of murdering Hiram Sloane in a rage of lunacy, who happened to be his closest friend before dying and who was like an uncle to the Townsend sisters… Things couldn’t seem to be more difficult and hopeless, but, while Sylvie has her doubts and resentment of her father’s attitude after the war, Meg vows she will do everything in her power to prove her father’s innocence. Will she succeed? Will they be able to start anew, when all her possesions are almost gone? Will Meg recover the use of her right hand so she can Paint again? Will Nate resist the urge to not involve himself with Meg and her sister and concentrate on his profession, which seems at stake? You’ll have to read this endearing story to find out how the Townsend sisters fare amidst this tragedy.
This was a beautiful deep and compelling story about family, loss, forgiveness, mercy and unconditional love. The plot is complex but very engaging and so realistic. The characters have to deal with difficult struggles and challenges, and I loved how they grew up through out this story. Meg was an amazing character. I loved her kind and sweet nature, her faith and uncinditional trust in her father, no matter his mental state, how she devoted to take care of him and ached for him when she couldn’t, it was a beautiful sight to behold, and an inspiring model because we are always surrounded by mentally ill people, loved ones or not, that need our care, patience and understanding. Sylvie, on the other hand, has a rebellious streak, but she also has a kind heart too, even if she’s a bit reluctant to trust her father and has a bit of resentment too. She had a lot to learn in this story too… But her love for her sister Meg was also inspiring and I loved watching how both of them watched out for each other at all times. Nate was also a great character, a man with a heart of gold and a huge sense of responsability. I liked how he aimed to only tell the truth in his job as a journalist. That was a hard struggle, as staying firm with the truth can carry some negative consequences, like the risk of losing his job, but it was freeing for him to stand on his convictions (he also learned from a few mistakes, but don’t we all?). And last but not least, I loved Stephen. Getting a glimpse into a battered mind still grieving from the devastating effects of the war was humbling, and very realistic. It was heartwrenching too, the way he suffered with his mind illness, and the way his daughters suffered for him too. It’s not an illness easy to understand, even if it’s quite understandable when you glimpse the suffering this souls have being through, of loss, of senseless killing, etc. These people are héroes and require all our affection, care, patience and understanding. This book really helped me see how many people can suffer (and I don’t mean only soldiers) this kind of depression and need our comfort, support, love and security.
Meg and Nate’s romance was sweet and clean, and so endearing. Not love at first sight, but more of a friendship and mutual admiration that slowly turn into much more. It was heartwarming.
This story left me enlightened and inspired in many ways. And Jocelyn’s style is vivid and refreshing. I never felt that the story dragged, on the contrary, it flowed at a good pace. I always had a hard time to leave the book in order to sleep the hours I needed.
I can’t wait for the next book in this saga. Hopefully it will be Sylvie’s own story…
I can’t recommend this story enough! I truly loved it and think many of you will too!
I received a copy of this book from the Publisher Vía NetGalley but wasn't required to post a positive review. This is totally my honest and unbiased opinion.
If you want a book where the author emotionally takes you on the journey that the characters are going through--this is the book for you. Jocelyn Green has an absolute amazing way of portraying real life emotion that breathes off the page. When that happens, you get characters and stories that stick with you for years, if not decades. This is a story that you will not soon forget. For that reason alone, I would say to add this book to your bookshelf. Beyond that ability that Green demonstrates though, she also creates characters that are relatable, deep, and driven. I can't wait to read the rest of the books in this series.
"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. We are transformed. So if I were you, I would not pray for the father you knew, but for your father made new, not in spite of the scars but because of them."
Jocelyn Green is a master storyteller who knows how to infuse rich historical detail into an intriguing and emotion-laden fiction. With a burned out 1871 Chicago as the backdrop, the author weaves a beautiful story of love, loss, betrayal, fear, resilience, and faith that will linger long after the last page has been read. The Great Fire of Chicago comes to life within the pages of the book as well as the long, tedious, painful but also joyful rebuilding of the city and lives. Within this rebuilding are layers that make the story so thought-provoking; the author addresses the barbaric treatment of those institutionalized for mental illness, the breath-stealing helplessness of PTSD, difficulty overcoming dyslexia and physical handicap, need for true forgiveness, and the spirit and bond of brotherhood among people of all stations in the midst of tragedy. This is a book that must be savored and not rushed through. Every time I'm in Chicago, I'll think of Nate and Meg.
Nate is a steadfast, loyal, and protective hero. As a newspaper reporter, he has the knowledge and connections to help Meg and her family when Meg's father Stephen is accused of murder and locked up in an asylum for insanity. Meg is a painter, a dreamer of optimism who wants desperately to prove her father's innocence and to help him get better. Her younger sister Sylvie has a voice in the story and she balances Meg out by being practical and blunt. A surprising voice in the story is Stephen himself as he fights the demons from the war and struggles to hold onto his faith in the midst of darkness. The subtle suspense and twist in the plot are well laid-out and work to keep the story moving at a good pace.
If you enjoy historical fiction, this book is a must read. And it's the beginning of a series, too! I can't wait for the second book.
I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Rich in historical details--from the Great Fire itself to the reconstruction efforts afterward to the way that patients in the Cook County Insane Asylum were treated--this novel quickly transports readers back to Chicago in 1871, setting the stage for a fascinating story. With the mystery of who really killed their family friend, Meg and Sylvie adjusting to life after the fire, and Stephen trying to regain his life altogether, there's a lot going on, but it all fits together well and moves along quickly. The message of healing through God was tender and believable without being overbearing. With so much to like about this book, I'll definitely be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series and reading Green's other books in the meantime.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
I loved my time immersed within the pages of this captivating story! I stayed up way too late last night reading this story because I just couldn’t put it down without knowing what would happen. Bleary-eyed today, with my heart lingering with these endearing characters I’ll strive to do this book justice with my words.
There are many stories that came out of the devastating Great Fire of Chicago in October 1871, but none of them quite as both immersive and inspirational. Jocelyn Green has the uncanny ability to bring historical events vividly to life in both her words and in the very life she breathes into the characters she writes. Often while reading this story I would be so involved that I missed things happening around me (of course some of that was football, so I didn’t feel too bad. Hahaha!)
This story is sure to check all the boxes of even the most discerning of readers. With a sweet soft thread of romance, a puzzling mystery to unravel, an unassuming villain, and especially characters that feel like new friends, you are sure to find a new favorite and a story that you won’t be able to quit talking about to everyone you meet!
(I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I am not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.)
I’ve heard of the great fire of Chicago. Probably read a little bit in history class. I don’t think I knew the extent of what it really was until this book. The author did a fantastic job of describing the fire and the panic of that night. She continues on with the rebuilding of Chicago in the days after the fire. All this is told through the Townsend Family. Meg, Sylvie and their father Stephen. There’s also a news reporter Nate and a law student Jasper. Stephen is a Civil War prisoner of war survivor. His time at Andersonville has changed him. Seeing how mental illness was handled during that time is history is heartbreaking. There’s also a mystery going on in the story. And a sprinkling of romance. I enjoy books that use real events in history and add fiction to the story! The author always does a great job with that. This book is no exception. I definitely recommend this book. Historical fiction readers will enjoy this read. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All cites stated here are my own.
Jocelyn Green is known for her historical novels centered around an American conflict. In her new release she centers her novel around the Great Chicago Fire. Great is a perfect description of Veiled in Smoke, book one of the Windy City Saga!!!!
Ms. Green sets the stage with poignant detail and great imagery. With great care, respect, and grace Ms. Green shows PTSD in her character, Stephen. His struggle is felt through the pages. My heart ached for him. With each page turn I wanted things to be easy and peaceful for him.
I loved Meg and Sylvie! They were endearing characters, who were flawed and beautifully crafted. Their sisterly relationship was authentic and endearing. They were determined to persevere amid the circumstances of not only what their father was dealing with but the devastation of the fire along with the loss of their home, and business.
Ms. Green put so many historical facts into the narrative, it felt as though I had been transplanted into 1871 Chicago.
As a history lover I found this first installment of Jocelyn Green's new series to be informative, beautifully crafted, poignant, tragic, but most of all memorable. I highly recommend it!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I will admit that it took me several chapters to get into this book, but once the mystery was revealed I was hooked. I am glad that my past experiences with this author gave me the motivation to keep reading knowing the hook would come.
Set in 1871 Chicago, the story gives the reader the insight into what we now would refer to as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) both from the perspective of survivors of the Great Conflagration and of Civil War veterans, especially prisoners of war, and their families. The author's extensive historical research into the treatment of burns and of mental illness in the setting of this story is quite evident, and it plays a huge part in the story. Recent research shows that fiction readers tend to be more empathetic than those who don't spend much time reading fiction. I would venture to say that it is books like Veiled in Smoke and authors like Jocelyn Green that contribute to this. One's heart cannot help but go out to the characters in this story, even to those who are on the wrong side of the law.
I highly recommend this book and am happy to have received a copy from Bethany House via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
Jocelyn Green is one of my favorite authors and I was thrilled to see she had written a new book and it is the first in a series!! The name is Veiled in Smoke – The Windy City Saga 1. On October 8, 1871 the great Chicago fire started. This is the story of that tragic day and the effect of the ensuing aftermath on sisters, Meg and Sylvie Townsend as they find there was greater evil afoot that night than just the fire.
Ms. Green uses the third person to tell her story, but she adds a twist. Each chapter deals with a separate member of the family. This gives a unique twist to the story that allows you to feel and see the story thru each one’s eyes. It also keeps you reading so you get an insight on everyone’s thoughts.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait for the next one in the Windy city Saga. Jocelyn has a talent for bringing historical events to life in a manner that keeps you turning pages. Her attention to detail is outstanding!
I love this author and this is one of my favorite books. This was a fantastic start to this series. I loved how she got in the Chicago Fire and the insane asylums. This showed how horrible the insane asylums were during this time period. I loved the characters throughout the book. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I did not want to put this book down. I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Green has written a compelling novel based on the historic fire that took place in Chicago in 1871. She did her research well and brings us a true happening of this horrendous fire. She wove in believable characters and true christian faith in her telling of this historical event…..The story of Meg & Sylvie Townsend and their civil war veteran and prison camp survivor father is heartbreaking. I learned that what we now call PTSD, was historically known as soldier’s heart in the veterans of the American Civil War. I loved reading about these two strong sisters, who differed in opinions yet both loved their father in spite of his “ilness”. We read of the devastation the fire caused in the city and even in the midst of this, some sought after greed and money, even to committing murder. It was sad to read about the mental institutions of that day and how the inmates were treated. You will be touched by this historical read and feel like you were right there in the smoke. I highly recommend this book if you like intrigue, historical fiction, and romance……. I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
"Veiled in Smoke" is the perfect title for this book.
Not only does Jocelyn Green explores the tragedy brought by the Great Chicago Fire and how it covered the population with uncertainty, but also, especially through Stephen Townsend, Green considers the depth and layers of trauma.
I can safely say this book is about family, about the hurt we can cause to those we love the most.
But, most powerfully, how love is also the way to rise from the ashes into reconciliation. Not all can be as it once before, but the foundation that keeps people together does not waver, only strengthened through storms and fire. Yes, the biggest and strongest character development happens within the Townsend family, and maybe this is my one complaint... I do not mind if the romance takes second place, but I didn't feel the organic development of it between Meg and Nate. Overall, I did enjoy the novel.
Filled with impeccable research, "Veiled of Smoke" is sure to satisfy the heart of any history lover.
I must confess, one of the reasons I requested an ARC of this book was its gorgeous cover. I also love historical fiction and had never read a book set in Chicago during the Great Fire of 1871. This book follows the fate of two sisters whose father suffers from soldier's heart (or PTSD as we call this disorder now). Their bookshop and house go up in flames in the fire, and in addition to that, their father is accused of murder and gets locked away in an insane asylum. This book is quite slow-paced, but at the same time, the plot moves along enough to keep the reader engaged and vested in the story. The murder mystery line is also interesting and kept me turning the pages.
Another aspect of the book that I appreciated but might be a turn-off for others is the main characters' emphasis on staying strong in faith and putting their trust in God. This theme gets stronger as you get farther into the book. I think overall, the author tried to stay true to the time period. The characters' manners and conduct certainly seem historically accurate to my inexpert eye. 5 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed this book.
This book is excellent! Jocelyn Green put so much detail into her book that the story just came to life for me! I loved that the main characters owned a book shop and were bookish. I also really enjoyed the different character perspectives. I think it gave the story more depth. I really can't wait for the next book in the series!
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green is a superbly masterful story. Where do I begin?! The plot is excellent. I was immediately swept into the tension and anxiety of the days leading up the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Then the firestorm hits and I was right there with Meg, Sylvie, and Nate as they are desperate to escape the horrific flames. The pandemonium of the day, the chaos, the absolute sadness, the hopelessness — I experienced all these feels with the characters and more. The characters are unique, personable, endearing. I feel like I got to know them on a real, personal level, and I am genuinely going to miss them. I also enjoyed the very well-written mystery that kept me on my toes the entire read. And the themes are so poignant I am overwhelmed by the depth and complexity of this beautiful novel. There truly is SO much to love about Veiled in Smoke.
Meg and Sylvie are wonderful young women. They’re strong, intelligent, and independent. My favorite aspect of their character is that they keep moving forward no matter what life throws at them. Meg and Sylvie are not victims! When they were young, Meg and Sylvie’s father, Stephen, enlisted in the Civil War. While he was gone, Meg, Sylvie, and their mother had to keep moving forward and do life without a man. They had to figure out how to survive a war as women all alone. Stephen does come back and brings with him a case of severe Soldier’s Heart (PTSD) and some serious demons. And then their mother dies. Still, Meg and Sylvie move forward. Stephen keeps getting worse and worse. Then the Chicago Fire ensues and in minutes everything is gone. Meg and Sylvie are left broken, destitute, and homeless. They are worried about their father, their home, and their futures, but they don’t give up. Meg and Sylvie keep on keeping on!
Of the two sisters, I relate most to Meg. I relate to how Meg deals with things. Meg is what I like to call a wishful fixer. She wishes for something to be and then overworks to try to make her wish come true. Sure, she prays to God, but she is so busy trying to make what she wants a reality that she just can’t hear God. And, what she wants — to make her sister happy, to get her father back to healthy, to make enough money to help her family out of a tough situation, to put the pieces of her family back together again — are all good things. Why would God want all these things for her loved ones? I am the same. I wish for something good — for my mom’s sadness to go away, for my best friend’s cancer to disappear, for my daughter to outgrow her seizures — and then I work diligently to make these things a reality. Yes, I pray. I pray my heart out. But instead of waiting on God and allowing Him to lead, I just keep working. When nothing seems to be working the way I want, I work harder. I wear myself out until I am nothing more than a mess of tears and frustration. Like Meg, I, too, finally whisper to God, “I can’t.” The truth is, as Meg realizes too, I can never do enough. I can only do what God made me to do. In all my busyness to wishfully fix everything I step out of my bounds and cross into God’s space and take over. God is the Leader. He has my loved ones in His hands. I can’t fix everything, but He can in His time. That has to be good enough.
I could go on and on about this book. There is so much amazingness to discuss. But, I don’t want to accidentally spoil a thing. Truly, Veiled in Smoke is an excellent historical novel that I absolutely cannot recommend enough. If you are in the mood for a well-written, well-researched story to escape into, then purchase a copy of this novel today. You will not be disappointed that you did.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via her publisher, Bethany House, and NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Superb! The epic beginning grabs you and the way the plot is a thread drawn out from these events makes for a tremendous story. I decided some of Jocelyn Green’s previous books often end in very dramatic fashion with a battle either on land or sea. In both The Mark of the King and Between Two Shores this conclusion holds true. I like that in Veiled in Smoke, a pivotal moment in the action appears at the beginning and this sets in motion all the consequences that follow.
This book is such a fine example of historical fiction. The details add a layer of richness to the story that I surmise will propel this book onto many recommended reading lists. Her skill in writing stories with an appreciation for the military certainly is on display between these pages. Her handling of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in early times is eye opening.
We meet a big cast of characters and each one is so memorable. The characters through their words and actions clearly show their goals, inward struggles, and values. Each character was so well developed. Every character added an essential dimension to the story. I think this lineup of characters in the the historical Chicago setting is a cornucopia of stories just waiting to be told. I’m eagerly looking forward to Windy City Saga Book 2.
I received an advanced reader’s copy of Veiled in Smoke from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. #VeiledinSmoke, #NetGalley
The Civil War might’ve ended in 1865, but its impact was felt long after.
In 1871, Civil War veterans and their families were still dealing with the ravages of war on the human psyche. What we might recognize today as PTSD was then observed merely as insanity. In many cases, the easiest answer was to lock the sufferers in insane asylums and highly medicate them. That is the fear Meg and Sylvie have for their father, a former prisoner of the notorious Andersonville, in Jocelyn Green’s new novel.
Veiled in Smoke starts 10 days before the Great Fire. These chapters introduce the major players of the piece and describes their lives in the Windy City. I read these passages with a sense of foreboding. I knew these places and people would be irreparably changed by the flames. The older men were of frail mind, while one of the younger men was full of guilt because he couldn’t serve. The hardships each person had faced leading up to the fire shaped them into the beings they’d become by October 1871. When the fire finally arrives, I also felt their despair and urgency as they attempted to escape the flames.
The fire is obviously the focus of this first book in the Windy City Saga, but it’s so much more than that. This is a novel about the plight of the veteran, and their families. While Stephen survived Andersonville, his friend was a prison camp guard in the north. During the novel, we meet veterans missing limbs, Confederate soldiers who took an oath to the Union and were then disowned by family, and men locked away for having PTSD. As a military wife, Green “gets it” and portrays each character in a sympathetic light. This then, is not only the story of a city being rebuilt but of man’s attempt to rebuild his/herself. And, because this is a Christian fiction novel, we see how trust and faith in God can assist with that. As one character says to another: “Your refinement comes not from charm school or polite society, but from coming through the fire.” The fire is the testing placed on us all.
Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the author and the publisher, the words and opinions below are my own.
Having devoured the Heroines Behind the Lines series by Jocelyn Green, I was thrilled to receive a complimentary advance copy of Veiled in Smoke through NetGalley. The book begins with emotional tension that persists throughout the entire book. The father in the story is dealing with the aftermath of his experiences as a prisoner during the Civil War. While the family struggles to help him, the Chicago Fire causes an upheaval that adds to the problem and sends him to an asylum where he is constantly drugged and mistreated. His faith in God helps him rise above it, but not in an unrealistic "everything is fine now" sort of way. The sisters deal with their own insecurities and learn to understand their father's sufferings. Although this book was emotionally difficult for me to read much at a time, I love that the story ends positively and encourages the reader that we "are not defined by our hurts, but by God's grace we can overcome them."
A poignant look at life being rebuilt in the midst of dust and ashes. I thoroughly enjoyed the various storylines, although the main emphasis was centered on Meg, the oldest of the Townsend sisters. I appreciated the glimpses of life in the Windy City before, during and after the Great Fire. Stephen, their father, a civil war survivor suffering from soldier’s heart, loves his daughters, but he’s not sure how to settle into his new life. Things go from troubling to impossible when he is accused of murdering his best friend. The points of view from each of their experiences was powerful and shed light into why some people respond to trials the way they do. Despite dark moments, remnants of hope and light kept each of them anchored to their faith. Nate is a huge help in this time of trial and helps Meg find peace, love, joy, and freedom. A deeply satisfying look at family, friendships, betrayal, PTSD, and loyalty in hard times. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and all opinions expressed are solely my own.
Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green is a well-researched novel of history, drama, suspense, and mystery. This historical fiction novel captivated my attention from beginning to end. I never lost interest even though I had to spread out my reading. The vibrant prose brought to life the setting, characters, and, quite potently, Chicago’s Great Fire. This novel is what I’d consider a “heavy” read because of the devastation and drama. However, as the story progresses, hope and resilience do appear.
For me, part of Veiled in Smoke’s appeal lies in the authenticity of the main characters. The tangled family relationships and dysfunctional dynamics were true-to-life. I liked the characters’ honest and messy progress toward healing. As someone with PTSD, I could relate to Stephen and the author’s treatment of his “soldier’s heart” condition was kind and sensitive, addressing the issue in healthy manner.
Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green commences The Windy City Saga novels and I can’t wait for the second installment. 5 Stars!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Veiled in Smoke, by Jocelyn Green, is the first book in The Windy City Saga. Set in Chicago immediately before and after the Great Fire of 1871, this well-written novel is thoughtful and honest as it boldly and effectively explores very difficult topics such as loss, trauma, and anxiety. Yet, through the despair, it leans into a hope that is raw and authentic. It is a tender story of the power of faith and the value of friends and family. It is a thoroughly captivating, emotionally-stirring, and truly thought-provoking novel.
Page after page, I could not turn away. I found this book and the perspectives contained within it to be incredibly compelling. Ms. Green has skillfully crafted authentic characters who are vulnerable, flawed, and achingly realistic. More than once, this novel broke my heart as I grieved for those who actually lived this story beyond the world of the printed page. As shown throughout history, and as illuminated in this story, the human capacity for survival and perseverance against great odds is nearly immeasurable. This book also reflects upon the truth that where there is great loss there will also be the possibility of significant renewal, restoration, and redemption.
Veiled in Smoke is truly an outstanding novel from beginning to end. Ms. Green's talent for immersive storytelling is undeniable. Her writing is well-researched, descriptive, and very engrossing. Within every paragraph and page there is deep meaning, real truth, and thoughtful purpose. This story is utterly moving and wholly unforgettable. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own.
Heartbreaking and heartwarming – this is such a beautiful story!
I loved the way the author tied the Great Fire of Chicago together with the struggles of the soldiers returning from Civil War suffering from what had been known as "soldier's heart"; or as we call it today, PSTD.
Stephen, Meg and Sylvie's father, was probably my favorite character. Broken by the war and his time in the prison camp, he returned a mere shell of himself. Despite the moments where he lost touch with reality, he had a heart that yearned for the Lord and was filled with compassion for those in need. He was, in fact, obsessed with hunger. Seeing the inside of the horrible asylum through his eyes was so. . . real.
Historically factual details from the fire and the reconstruction of the city fill this fictional account. And unless you were already familiar with this period, you might find yourself, as I did, quite surprised by some of the challenges faced by those attempting to rebuild their city and their lives.
Some very colorful characters appear along with the main ones, such as the young entrepreneur who began selling relics from the fire. The types of objects he found were amazing!
There was a mystery surrounding one of the characters. I went back and forth, certain at one point I knew he was bad and what his secret was. Then, I was ashamed of myself for doubting him. But then. . . Again I questioned him and continued to vacillate until the truth was finally revealed!
The Townsend family knew the Lord and had been raised to understand Scripture yet until their faith was tried, literally, by fire, that knowledge wasn't truly taken to heart. Stephen's experience was the most dramatic. He knew the Lord, has Scripture memorized and cried out in his distress. Yet he had to come to a place of brokenness, complete surrender before he was able to begin to trust God for his deliverance.
Breathtaking descriptions and masterful turning of phrases combine to make Veiled in Smoke a pleasure to read.
Green takes readers on a journey...not only in history, but also a journey of self discovery to become the best version of yourself despite what life throws at you...or maybe it is thanks to what life throws at you. Life is all about changes. No one stays the same. Circumstances change a person, but we should always strive to become the best version of ourselves. This is what the characters in this book go for...they are well developed and true to live. I felt for them. This is a book with great depth that I will treasure for a long time.
Veiled in Smoke is different from any other novel I’ve read by Jocelyn Green. And I love that it is so unique.
I’d never read anything set during the time of the Great Fire, so it was really interesting to read about what it could have been like to experience that, and then the aftermath.
This novel isn’t a light read. Jocelyn tackles heavy subjects, but she does it with tact and grace. PTSD, or a form of it, is one of those subjects. Stephen Townsend’s struggles after the war and Andersonville are real and raw. He’s often misunderstood, by himself, his daughters, and society. But as the book progresses, Jocelyn corrects some of those things in subtle ways, taking on even our own misconceptions of mental illness and the affects of PTSD. Meg and Sylvie’s own struggles post-fire highlight what this looks like.
There are no easy answers in this book. No simple conclusions or neat, tied up bow at the end. But that’s what I think makes it such a good book. The ending is satisfying, and I love where Meg’s story goes. But I also love that the door is left open. These characters had become so real, that to close the door like that was all that would happen in their lives would have felt cheap.
In all, I really liked this book, and the elements of romance and mystery that were spread throughout.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
I love how Jocelyn Green can take a point in history and turn it into an amazing story that feels so real. When this book first started I was surprised I was getting to see the story through the viewpoint of so many of the characters. But I found out I loved that, and it rounded the story out much nicer than I could have guessed. The characters were all very well done, with their own flaws and struggles. This book is not the kind where everything is good as new by the end as if nothing bad ever happened. It is more real than that. It shows people facing struggles and working to overcome them. To find a new path in life, and work though the problems that are holding them back. It was really quite inspiring.
The parts about Chicago during and after the fire were also very well done. I had always heard of it, but this is probably the first time I got a closer look into what it may have really looked and felt like. And the added mystery was also very interesting and I really enjoyed following it. Jocelyn Green is very good at adding twists and turns into the story to throw you off the trail and keep you guessing.
I received this book free through NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. The opinions are my own.
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.
I was going to use some quotes in this review and even saved some but that's not how' I work. I decided to let the Lord lead me in this review.
Jocelyn Green sure knows how to get your adrenaline pumping with excitement, fear, learning about love and to appreciate what is right in front of you the whole time
The setting is absolutely perfect for all that I've described above.
Imagine yourself if you were caught in a huge fire that big and in the middle of the whole town trying to escape. Impossible you say? Pretty much but for some, like Meg, Sylvie and their father came through. Oh and we can't forget Nathaniel Pierce investigative reporter.
I just love him for his kind, caring and persistence to get things done even if it is the right thing to do.
Sometimes doing the right thing isn't what others would have us do. They only want to hear had truths, lies and whatever else the case may be.
I also want you to Imagine how you'd feel after you've lost everything except the clothes on your back. You'd be in shock of course but I think I'd throw in that I'm thankful for being alive too!
What one door closes another one will open. Maybe there are some lessons that God wants to teach us that we never would have seen before.
I love how Green shows how this wonderful family survives the fire with God's Grace. I of course held my breath and I certainly felt myself panicking along with all of Chicago to get away from it.
Green writes about what we know as today PTSD and what was known then Soldiers heart. I had to look it up to see what the definition was. Let's just say, I learned quite a bit.
I finished this book in two days because it was sooooo good! And exciting too!
Yes, there were a few places where it dragged a bit but then it picked up when there was some mystery involved.
No, I didn't like Jasper at all! He made me upset for a bunch of reasons.
Green is a talented author who does her research well. I think I'm now a forever fan.
This is my favorite book besides Echoes Among the Stones.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Green has in store for us in the next book.
I give this book five stars all the way and I wish more.
The cover is awesome as always. I love that it gives you a hint of things to come.
My thanks to Netgalley and Bethany House for an incredible read so far for 2020.
I was NOT required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
The historical fiction books that have the greatest impact on me are those that put me in a particular event or time period and bring it to life. In Veiled in Smoke, Jacelyn Green not only brings the horror and destruction of the Great Chicago Fire to readers’ attention, she also gives us a look into the speedy rebuilding of the city and lives through the eyes of the Townsend family.
Meg, Sylvie, and Jonathan have a comfortable existence with their bookstore, even with the difficulties the two sisters have with caring for their father. But when they lose everything (even more than belongings), each of them responds in different ways.
Throughout the book, Green deftly paints the efforts of the city and the people to come back from devastation while shadowing it with a mystery. The author also patiently and honestly describes Jonathan’s PTSD from the Civil War, and his daughters’ frustration and helplessness in knowing what to do for him.
There’s some romance in there as well, but Veiled in Smoke is about family, the way they interact, and the sacrifices they make for each other
Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
The most important thing about history is that we learn from the past and how that past connects to today's events so that we can avoid the same mistakes and repeat our successes. "Veiled in Smoke," by Jocelyn Green tells the story of Meg and Sylvie Townsend who are dealing with tragedy (an ever-present concern) while simultaneously working to solve a murder mystery and clear their father Stephen who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the Civil War and his time as a POW. Though the story is historical fiction, its application is timeless and real for so many today.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
I could not help but to squeal with delight when I found out Jocelyn Green had a new series, The Windy City Saga, coming out. Veiled in Smoke does not disappoint. I loved every single page of this book. It is probably one of my favorites I have read by her to date. She obviously did extensive research to write this book. The historical details were so vivid, I felt like I was right there with the characters living in the moment of the events surrounding the story.
I am giving Veiled in Smoke a very well deserved five plus stars. I can not wait for the second installment from The Windy City Saga to release.
I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
If there was ever a book that I wanted to hold close to my chest, this would be the one. From the very beginning, I was hooked. My heart went out to the Townsend family, the main characters of this story, and I found myself wanting to know more about them. Jocelyn Green knows how to grab her readers and pull at their heartstrings. The struggles the Townsends face are all too real.
Veiled in Smoke follows this family of three - father Stephen, and daughters Meg and Sylvie - right before, during, and after the Great Fire of Chicago. Ever since returning from a POW camp called Andersonville during the Civil War, Stephen’s mind has not been all together sound. He is constantly held up in the past, protecting his home from dangers unseen, from “Johnny Rebs” no longer in the picture.
"Stephen was pacing the flat, block-long roof, patrolling to keep his property safe from dangers only he imagined."
Because of this condition, later known as Soldiers Heart, and the rough replica of Andersonville Stephen creates in his backyard, he is seen by his neighbors and passersby as a complete nut job. It is this position that lands him in the asylum for allegedly shooting his friend Hiram in cold blood during the night of the fire.
The story was believable, as if a true retelling, and at times I wanted to yell at the men running the asylum, reach in and help Meg and Nate (a reporter for the Chicago Tribune) find the truth about what happened that night and get Stephen back. I wanted to know if my hunches were right about certain people in the story, though at times I wanted to be wrong. I was in this story for the long haul, and I happily indulged.
As great historical fiction novels do, this story left me wanting to know even more about the fire that is still widely known to this day. Jocelyn Green brought it to a place I never knew, and I loved learning through the eyes of her characters, through her beautiful use of prose.
As a Christian, I appreciated the way the author brought God into the story. He was real, relied on, and conversed with. And at times, questioned. How these characters interacted with Him became mini-lesson in and of themselves.
"What a mercy that God was not limited by that which limited her. What grace that His power and presence remained, regardless of whether she felt close to them. She must trust Him for what she could not see. Wasn’t that the essence of faith?"
This story is well worth the read, especially if you love learning about history, seeing it play out before you, and growing deeper in your own faith in the process.
I love books filled with history like this one.
I loved the author's writing style of each character telling the story. It helped in enjoying the book.
Meg, Stephen, Sylvia, though family were very different people. Each was dealing with their own issues. Stephen's was deeper than others, after the war and imprisonment, he returned home a battered man. I admired his daughters patience and sacrifice for him. The lenghts they were willing to go for family was very heart warming.
My heart went out for Hiram, but his sweet nature was endearing.
The Chicago wide fire brought a whole new kind of calamity on the Townsend family but the bond of family was not easily destroyed especially when they had Nate the reporter on their side.
If you are a lover of history and heartwarming, tear-jerking stories with profound faith based themes, you'd love this one.
God is present, ever present even in our pain and distress.
I received a copy of this book and this is my honest opinion.
Jocelyn Green's debut book in her new series captured my attention right from the beginning. Filled, as always, with her attention to historical detail, complex characters, and plot driven suspense, I can't wait for the rest of the books in this series.
With a wonderful focus on a long standing side effect of war, PTSD, that can be traced as far back as war in Biblical times, we get a startling glimpse into the treatment of the men who fought in the Civil War as well as those who were placed in prisoner of war camps that left long lasting scars both physically and mentally. So many were misunderstood by both their families and the medical community and were labeled insane and did not receive the kind of help they really needed.
We see how the problem of PTSD affected both Meg and Sylvie when their dad arrives home and is no longer the man they remembered. Then add the horrors of the Chicago fire that devastated most of the city, and it was a catalyst for injuries, nightmares, and crime. The suspense was great throughout
this book accelerating to a surprising climax. After losing everything including their father, their health, and their home, the Chicago fire becomes the key for Sylvie and Meg to rebuild their lives.
"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.
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.
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.
“Meg’s father was gone. Again. She stood in his empty room for only a moment, summoning her wits.”
Opening lines of “Veiled in Smoke” by Jocelyn Green
Jocelyn Green, once again, writes a story that leaps off the page. Each scene is so well written it appears in front of the reader’s eyes.
“Veiled in Smoke” begins as fire ravages Chicago and we follow the ramifications it has for one family. Stephen, father of Meg and Sylvie, returned from the Civil war suffering from what would be in modern terms be diagnosed as PTSD. The night of the fire brings the horrors of war back to life and, in the confusion, he is accused and charged with the murder of his dear friend. He is sentence to life in an asylum.
Meg and Sylvie, whilst reeling about their father, struggle as they realise they have lost their source of income. Nate Pierce, a local reporter and friend, comes alongside the ladies to help them investigate the mystery surrounding their father’s arrest.
The story reflects all four perspectives of events. Stephen’s is heart-breaking, he struggles so hard against the flashbacks and emotional pain and feels his failure to protect his daughters. His experience in the asylum is harrowing. Meg is a fascinating character, full of determination, faith and optimism. Sylvie offers a mix of realism and romanticism and Nate is a logical voice and kind heart. The combination is a compelling journey in which I couldn’t help but root for them. The investigation into why Stephen’s friend was murdered is intriguing and full of twist and turns! To all this, there are interesting nuggets of well-researched history tucked in everywhere!
If historical fiction is a favourite for you, this is one to read! It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale.
The Great Chicago Fire was far from the beginning of Meg and Sylvie Townsend’s problems. Could loosing everything be the key to rebuilding their lives? The night of the fire is nothing but a terrifying black space in Stephen Townsend’s mind. Could he have committed the crime he’s been convicted of?
Opening the pages of a new Jocelyn Green book is always an exciting experience. I know I’m going to get some beautiful writing, strong characters that I want to connect with and a story that pulls at my heartstrings. Set around the Chicago fire of 1872, Veiled in Smoke had all that and so much more. Stephen Townsend’s arc was a highlight of the book for me. His struggle with PTSD and the horrors he faced during the Civil War were gutting, as was reading about the treatment of those with psychological needs during that time.
Green’s research really shined in this novel. I knew a little about the fire and had heard the bit about it being blamed on poor Mrs. O’Leary and her cow, but I hadn’t really considered what life was like after the immediate danger was over. The resilience of not just the Townsends but the entire city of Chicago is really astounding. This is a must read and I cannot recommend it enough! It’s also the start of a new series so we’ll get the opportunity to revisit the soon.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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.
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
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 Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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 www.psalm516.blogspot.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: https://lifelovelaughterlinds.ca/2020/03/20/book-review-veiled-in-smoke-by-jocelyn-green/
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.
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!
Veiled in Smoke
by Jocelyn Green
Bethany House Publishers
Pub Date 04 Feb 2020
I am reviewing a copy of Unveiled Smoke through Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley:
This book takes us to 1870's Chicago where Meg and Sylvia Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their Father Stephen a former Prisoner of War of the Civil War, who is still suffering from in mind and spirit from his time as a POW. But when the great fire sweeps through Chicago they will face a greater loss than just their store.
After the sisters are separated from their Father and make a harrowing escape from the fire and flames that went after everything in it's path with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. After the smoke cleared away, they reunite with Stephen only to later find out that their family friend was murdered the night of the fire. What is even more shocking is that their Father is accused of the crime and is committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum where he is treating appallingly before even being given a fair trial
Despite being injured, homeless, and unemployed Meg must try to gather the pieces of hers and her sisters life, as well as do everything she could as well as prove her father's innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.
I give Unveiled Smoke five out of five stars!
Mark my words, this book is going to end up on everyone’s favorites list of 2020. Yes it was that good! The emotions just sneak up on you and don’t let go. There was sorrow, fear, sadness, joy, love, respect, pity, and so much more. Green pulls the reader into the storyline, and makes them feel as if they are living it right alongside the characters. There were a few times I found myself holding my breath!
Green also manages to bring so many things to light. Things that are applicable today although they are in a historical novel. Soldier’s heart was not a term I was familiar with, but oh how it did touch my heart. I imagine it’s true of our soldiers today, and while they are not sent to the same treatments that were in this book, I can imagine that they are still not what our soldiers need. Stephen’s storyline affected me the most, and I’m so glad Green added his POV in the story. You only see it here and there, but it is enough to make a huge impact.
A theme that seemed to stay with me throughout the entire book was grieving. People grieve in so many differents ways, as did Meg and Sylvie. Both of them were completely stubborn in their ways, and while they claimed to have the right heart about stuff, they needed to understand that they were leaving each other out of the equation. Green hits the nail on the head with this point – we need communication. It grows relationships, clears misunderstandings, brings people closer together, and is vitally important in our everyday lives.
The other thing I love about Veiled in Smoke, is that I learned a lot about history. Honestly, I knew nothing about the great Chicago fires. I’m sure we learned about them at some point in school, but I just don’t remember. Green makes me want to go visit the library and find out more. I want to learn about real people that lived through it and hear their tales. I want to know what businesses were around and what happened to them. Don’t you love it when a book makes you want to learn? It almost makes you feel like a kid again!
Green has delivered readers a beautifully written novel that will move you to tears. But amidst all the fear, heartache and loss, is a powerful message of hope and prosperity. Tragedy doesn’t have to stay as something negative in a person’s life. We have a Maker who can turn it into something good. I highly recommend adding this book to your reading list!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Amazing historical fiction! A must-read book!
I loved the historical facts mixed into this beautiful story of tragedy and hope. The insight into a Civil War Veteran dealing with Soldier's Heart (now known as PTSD) and his family was amazing. I felt the emotions of Meg and Sylvie, I felt the conflict between them as they had different ideas of how to care for their father. I understood the panic Stephen felt. The horrors of the asylum were so awful, sadly they were also true.
The fire itself was so well described I could almost smell the smoke and feel the crowds of people pushing to escape the flames. The murder mystery was an unexpected element that I enjoyed very much! I don't give spoilers but the twists and turns kept me glued to this story.
Part of one of my favorite quotes is, "Gratitude-expanded inside Meg, for the uncounted steps, small and large, they'd all taken to reach this point."
I've said before that I always learn something when I read a Jocelyn Green book, this one is no exception.
Today was actually the second time I read and/or listened to this book, (gifted a paperback and purchased the Audible version)
Classic Jocelyn Green. A beautifully written story that captures you attention from the first chapter and does not let go until the final page. Give yourself the gift of savoring this story. You will not be disappointed.
After reading this book, and thoroughly enjoying Green’s Between Two Shores last year, I think I’ve found a new favorite author. This story was incredibly well done.
I love stories that have complex plots—and this one had it! The history was a major portion of the story, but never once was I distracted by details—it flowed naturally with everything else, so I found myself learning a lot about the Great Chicago Fire while immersed completely in my character’s current experiences. Then there was a mystery element which I was curious about the entire book, and hoping so much that one character wouldn’t be involved in the entire time! This book also covered a form of PTSD, and learning to begin again after terrible setbacks that would make some people give up…this felt like it had it all.
There was so much to be learned from and enjoyed in this book, and I really doubt I’ll ever look at this particular event in history the same again. As a historical fiction lover that likes a touch of romance but not too much of a focus on it, I really appreciated that element in this book. It was just there—but a sub-plot. The characters were also well-formed, and if it weren’t for the fact that I was sucked into the story so much, I would have liked to pay more attention to how they were developed through the story. I enjoyed this enough that I would love to have it on my shelf someday. Highly recommended.
I requested a free review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
A historical novel with unexpected truths.
I have been putting off my review of Veiled in Smoke for a couple weeks now. You see I was so surprised to find a historical book with such a depth of knowledge of post traumatic stress disorder.
I wasn't sure what to expect, I thought Veiled in Smoke would be a sad book, but I didn't expect it to be so, so hard. Stephen was a character who suffered horribly at Andersonville during the Civil War as a prisoner of war.
Meg and Sylvie's relationship wasn't the closest or the sweetest in the history of sister relationships, but I liked seeing how they changed and grew as the story progressed.
I know this is a shorter review but I don't want to spoil anything and I surely would if I said much more.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
This wasn’t necessarily an easy read. A good read, but not easy.
I could see how these fictional characters could very well exist, in their broken state, physically and mentally for some.
My heart broke for Meg as she incurred a horrible injury that would forever impact her life and her art. I’ll allow you to find out for yourself what that injury was, but I will say that Jocelyn Green brought her characters and their injuries—inside and out—to life. You can really tell the extensive research Green puts into her work. And you read about it in her author’s notes). I learned so much, right after enjoying this beautiful yet tragic story of family restoration. Of a family that wouldn’t give up on one another.
The fire in Chicago set the story up, but it’s the characters that won me over in this story.
This story is as beautiful as the cover (and it is quite beautiful, isn’t it), you will love these characters and will cheer for Meg as jumps hurdle after hurdle … and even opens her heart for a man who is ready to protect it at any cost.
You will be moved with compassion for any soldier who suffers with PTSD. Jocelyn, the way you painted that asylum … well, I’m still reeling from it. It reminds me of some things I saw in a prison museum last summer here in Kingston. Appalling. Degrading. Dehumanizing.
But Stephen wouldn’t give up. I loved reading about his desperation as he cried out to God for his rescue.
It moved a little slower in the beginning, for me anyway. If you find that, please keep reading because it's so worth it!
Incredible story of faith and courage amidst the backdrop of the Great Chicago Fire.
This is my first time reading any of Jocelyn Green’s stories and I will definitely be reading more in the future. She did an amazing job of writing a historically accurate story with deep characters, (good and bad) in a compassionate and eye-opening way.
The characters are presented with insurmountable obstacles, yet their faith and determination help them persevere against all odds. My heart ached for them and the tangible pain (both physical and emotional) they endured during the story.
It was a bit heavy in places but there were bursts of camaraderie, human connection and grace that helped balance it out. The way everyone came together and rebuilt after the fire was very touching and inspiring. .
In light of the current pandemic, reading about the connection and persevering spirit of humanity made this story settle well on my soul, like a breath of fresh air and a reminder of the most important things in life: faith, and people.
I’m excited to read the next story in this series and highly recommend this one.
I was given this free copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here in are completely my own.
This story, which is set during the days of the great Chicago fire, was enthralling. There’s several plot lines that seem at first to be unrelated to the fire, but the author skillfully weaves them together into an book that I could hardly put down. I liked the main characters, Meg and Sylvie. I had great sympathy for them as they tried to navigate very difficult circumstances, compounded by PTSD suffered by their father, Stephen, during the Civil War. Stephen’s mental health unravels further as a result of the fire, and the family has much to overcome as they try to rebuild their lives after the fire and help their father return home to them.
The research the author put into this book made this story come alive, and I think this is Jocelyn Green’s best book so far. I also appreciated the spiritual emphasis of the story, especially as it related to Stephen and his internal struggle to not let his horrible war experiences completely destroy him. There’s more to be told about this family, and I look forward to this series.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Meg and Sylvie must cope with their dad's PTSD from the Civil War. Stephen had been jailed at Andersonville in South Carolina and suffered greatly. In Chicago during the Great Fire, their home and business were destroyed. Fleeing from the fire, their father was caught up and wrongly arrested. Because of his "soldier's heart" condition, he was kept in jail. Newspaper reporter Nate, a new friend of Meg and Sylvie, helped with his release. But, there was still the PTSD to contend with, all while trying to rebuild their home and business. Meg and Sylvie have a lot of pluck, for sure.
The story also includes the intriguing story of a Confederate solider, turned Union soldier.
Veiled in Smoke is a trip deep into the history of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Author Jocelyn Green takes the reader along the tumultuous ride that sisters Meg and Sylvie experience before, during, and after the fire. This story also delves into the mysteries of PTSD, at the time referred to as Soldier's Heart, and how it affects not only the soldier, but those they love, and those they have contact with upon reentering everyday life.
In the story, Meg and Sylvie have grown up in and above a bookstore owned by their father Steven Townsend. Just as they each learn to stretch their gifting and navigate adulthood, the fire ravages their neighborhood and their family, forcing both young women to realize that they cannot live life on their own. As they learn who to trust, and who not to, they are faced with the unnerving decisions they must make on their own as their father has been accused of murdering his best friend, Hiram Sloane, and is now in an asylum.
This book took me longer to read than most of Jocelyn's earlier works. It delves so deeply into PTSD, and the tragedy of the Great Chicago Fire that I found myself needing to step away for a few days after each chapter and process the emotions the topics raised. Such a great book, but so deep and challenging.
Finishing reading this offering just as the current situation with Covid-19 started spreading gave me a new appreciation for how much we humans can endure, when we look to the right place for our strength and wisdom - when we look to God to order our steps.
I highly recommend this book, with a caveat: if you are struggling with depression because of the pandemic, it might be best to enjoy another of Jocelyn's titles and save this one to read later in the year.
4.5 stars for this historical romance set in the time of the great Chicago Fire. In this book, we follow sisters Meg and Sylvie as they struggle to care for their father who has "soldier's heart" (modern day translation - PTSD), and keep their fledgling bookstore alive after the death of their mother. When the fire sweeps through Chicago, they lose nearly everything and find themselves separated from their father. This book covers not only the fire itself, but the aftermath and rebuilding.
I really enjoyed the history of this book and it really made me think about the massive rebuilding effort that had to happen after this great fire. Learning that the sidewalks had been wooden and the roofs of buildings were made of tar paper, it was easy to see how the fire spread so quickly. To see it from the vantage point of people who were living through it, including one who had PTSD from the Civil War just 6 years prior, was enlighting. Ms. Green did a good job of describing the thoughts and feelings of Stephen as he struggled with the paranoia and insomnia that accompanied his "soldier's heart". His struggles to relate to his daughters after the war was also heart-rending. I loved how the girls grew, spirtitually and emotionally, after the fire. While they had merely coexisted before, they were forced to work together to get their business back and their father back. The opening up of communication and strengthening the bonds of sister-hood were beautiful. Both sisters also sought out romance in the aftermath of the fire, but only one of them gets a happily-ever-after (I won't tell you which one though). I hope that future books (since this is book 1 in a series) will offer up the same chance to the other sister. This book also included a mystery as a close friend is shot on the night of the fire and they seek to uncover who did it and why. While I suspected the "who", the "why" took me by complete surprise. With the mystery, the historical elements, the romance, the emotional struggles of the family, and the sister theme, there's a little something here for everyone.
Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for an e-copy of this book. I was under no obligation to write a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.
“Veiled in Smoke” by Jocelyn Green is a novel about the Great Chicago Fire. The Townsend sisters manage the family bookstore. Their father is a veteran of the Civil War and a returned prisoner of war. He has what would be determined today as PTSD. Meg and Sylvie have their hands full running the store and keeping their father from wreaking too much havoc in their neighborhood. Sometimes he thinks he is back in the battles of the war and reacts accordingly.
They were coping, but then the Great Fire swept through the business district and they lost the store. Although they escaped, they became separated from their father. With the help of a friend who is a reporter for a Chicago newspaper, they find him but are stunned to find that a family friend was murdered the night of the fire and that their father is charged with the crime. What follows finds Meg trying to prove her father’s innocence.