Into the Whirlwind
Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden
Mollie Knox, owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, employs veterans who served with her father in the 57th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. These veterans are talented artisans who craft high-end watches, but to Mollie, they are family. Mollie's contract with Hartman's, a fine department store, affords her a measure of financial security until Zack Kazmarek, Hartman's handsome, yet intimidating attorney, issues an ultimatum that Mollie must sell her business to Hartman or lose her contract. Unexpectedly, the Great Chicago Fire ravages the city, destroying tangible property and intangible dreams. When famed Colonel Lowe, leader of the 57th Illinois Infantry, helps Mollies rebuild, Mollie is torn between the kind, stable Colonel Lowe and the passionate, unstable Zack Kazmarek.
Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden is a stand-alone novel set in nineteenth-century Chicago. Admittedly, I don't know many details regarding the terrible tragedy of the Great Chicago Fire and Chicago's period of rebuilding; however, Camden's depictions seemed authentic and realistic. Into the Whirlwind has a solid plot that quickly hooked my attention and carried it through to the end of the novel. I found it refreshing that the romance elements of the story kept me guessing who Mollie was going to end up with. I recommend this book to lovers of historical romances.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free 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 CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
January 18, 2014
Mollie Knox owns the 57th Illinois Watch Company and is looking at a bright future until the Great Fire destroys Chicago. Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney for a store that sells Mollie's watches. He usually gets what he wants, but Mollie doesn't let him get his way. After the Great Fire, Mollie and Zack have to work together to save Mollie's company and find out that each person is very different than the other originally thought.
I loved Into the Whirlwind, by Elizabeth Camden. It was the right amount of cute romance story and historical facts. Elizabeth Camden is one of my favorite authors and she once again did a great job writing this story. It was a fairly quick read, but it kept my attention the whole time and I felt like a created a bond with the characters.
I was given this book for free from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
December 10, 2013
Mollie Knox has found a purpose in following in her father's footsteps by making famously intricate watches, but when the Great Chicago Fire takes almost everything from her she finds herself relying on the one man she swore she'd never trust.
Zach Kazmarek has made a name for himself as a lawyer to be reckoned with, from a humble home he has worked for everything that her has. Zach has admired Mollie from afar for years and now that he has the opportunity to help her, will he keep her best interests in mind?
A wonderful historical novel set during the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire, as people dusted themselves off and set about the hard task of rebuilding. I loved how this book showed how the best and the worst in people can be brought out through these times, and dealt with parts of the human condition.
I immediately admired Mollie, for her hard working spirit, love and dedication to her friends. This book was filled with so much history and a vast array of characters whose lives were forever changed by the fire, and many who became stronger because of it.
This was a wonderful story with so many characters who endeared themselves to me over the course of the story and they grew.
Overall, another terrific book from Ms. Camden. I could tell that a lot of research went into this book and I felt that it realistically showed what was going on during the aftermath of the fire. Great book!
Thank you to Ms. Camden for providing me with a review copy of this wonderful book, in return for me expressing my honest thoughts and opinions.
November 16, 2013
Historical fiction with depth and emotion
Into the Whirlwind is a turbulent love story set amidst the rubble of Chicago as Mollie endures the challenge of survival and the triumph of rebuilding the city. This stand-alone novel is steeped in history and filled with rich characterization, emotional impact, and beautiful prose. I greatly enjoyed this character-driven drama and will be reading more of Elizabeth Camden's work.
There's often a tendency to skim over descriptive passages, but not so in this book! Elizabeth excels at capturing the feel of a historical event, bringing it to life and making you feel as though you are there. The story begins on October 8, 1871, as the raging Chicago fire is destroying everything in its path: "The fire had burned a four-mile path along Lake Michigan that was almost a mile wide. More than a hundred thousand people had been left homeless, and half the businesses in the city had been burned out." One of the disastrous results of the fire was the collapse of the local insurance industry, and I loved how Elizabeth creatively worked this into her narrative through Zack's efforts in reform.
Mollie and Zack are strong leading characters. 26-year-old Mollie Knox excels at business and runs her father's 57th Illinois Watch Company. She is a hardworking, compassionate leader who trains fifteen wounded veterans from her father's military unit in the art of high-end watchmaking and devises ways to keep the company afloat.
Zack Kazmarek is an attorney for Hartman's, the only store in Chicago that could afford to carry Mollie's expensive watches. Zack is a bold, confident man, protective of those within his care - and he embodies characteristics that we love in a hero - he is hardworking, honest, loyal and kind. It was especially touching to see how he loved and cared for his Polish immigrant parents.
While the fire taught Zack how important Mollie was to him, she wasn't ready for a relationship. "Zack was a wild, unpredictable force of nature, while she lived in an orderly world of ticking watches and production schedules." And to further complicate matters, the handsome and gentlemanly Colonel Richard Lowe comes sweeping in to rebuild Mollie's company. "He was Lancelot without the pesky adultery problem."
As much as I admired Mollie as a caring employer who struggled to succeed in business because she was a woman, she wasn't my favorite heroine. I felt that she made some bad decisions out of pride, with heartbreaking results in one instance, and I cringed at her often harsh, unfeeling words spoken to Zack in anger. On the other hand, I felt that Mollie not being a "perfect" character added to the depth and enjoyment of this story.
There is a strong cast of supporting characters, especially in the wounded veterans who work with Mollie. I also came to love Sophie, the young girl rescued by Zack and Mollie during the fire. "Extraordinary in her insolence" at first, she blossomed when given the opportunity to find purpose in life through hard work and being part of a team.
Into the Whirlwind is a fascinating and engrossing story that I highly recommend to all readers.
This book was provided by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
November 1, 2013