Zack Kazmanek has worked his way up to a man of wealth and position. He has a job to do for his employer and Mollie is holding things back. Will he stand for truth and follow his heart or will he compromise and do what his employer is paying him to do. Can the friendship between Zack and Mollie survive?
I truly enjoyed the suspense of Into the Whirlwind along with the historical setting of this book. I have read others by Elizabeth Camden and enjoyed them so when this one came available to review, I requested it quickly. I was not disappointed. If you enjoy Christian, historical fiction and romance, this is worth the read.
I was provided this for free by the publisher, Baker Publishing Group/ Bethany House, in return for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.
While I thoroughly enjoyed Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden, it was a bit slower paced than I typically prefer. Ms. Camden did an excellent job of showing us the fear and confusion generated by the Chicago fire. I'm thankful I wasn't there. She also did a wonderful job of portraying the difficulties of women doing business in that time frame. Having a man in her life, whether a friend, brother or husband, allowed greater access to many necessities. I'm glad times have changed so much--thanks to the many people like Mollie Knox.
***I received this book from the publisher/author for purposes of review. The above is my honest opinion.***
Into the Whirlwind is a new novel by Elizabeth Camden. The story centers around the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and focuses on the effect the fire had on two individuals - Mollie Knox and Zack Kazmarek. Mollie is the owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, a business she inherited from her late father and one that employees many of the Civil War veterans he fought with. Zack is a powerful attorney who came from humble beginnings. He is a formidable figure in the Chicago business community who is seemingly intimidated by only one person - Mollie.
This is the second novel I have read by Elizabeth Camden. It was very interesting to read about the Great Chicago Fire, a historical event that I am familiar with, but prior to reading this novel (and doing some subsequent research) knew little about. The author did a good job of bringing the devastation of the fire - both to the city and its citizens - to life.
The storyline moves back and forth between Mollie's viewpoint and Zack's, with plenty of expected misperceptions and events occurring to seemingly foil their chances of ending up together. However, I prefer novels this way as it makes them seem more realistic. It makes for a much more engrossing read and this novel moved along at such a steady clip that I could barely put it down. The author keeps the reader guessing and I was eager to find out what was going to happen next.
Though a work of Christian fiction, there were not a lot of biblical undertones to the story. It read more like secular historical fiction than Christian historical fiction. Like in her other book that I read (The Rose of Winslow Street), there is a scene of brutal violence depicted in this story. It creates a sad subplot, but does realistically depict things that can happen after a tragedy. Though most people are good, some are not.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It is an engaging, fast-moving story with well-developed, interesting characters. Even if you don't typically read Christian fiction - this book is one to put on your list.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Mollie Knox, owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Co., is proud of her thriving business and her employees, most of which were disabled members of the 57th Infantry alongside her father. Mollie had kept her father's wish of keeping these disabled men employed since his death. They are a close knit group, a "family" of sorts, and Mollie carries the burden of providing them with jobs and keeping the business afloat on her shoulders. But business is thriving and good things are on the horizon until the night of devestation that would forever change the lives of the entire city of Chicago. The Great Chicago Fire tears through the city leveling businesses and homes and leaving nothing but destruction in it's wake. Mollie is determined to rebuild her prized company and provide for her employees. What she needs is a miracle and God is just big enough to provide it. Torn between her love for Zack Kazmarek and her new feelings for Colonel Richard Lowe, will Mollie realize that the "better choice" isn't always the RIGHT choice?
Zack Kazmarek, an attorney for Hartman's Inc., Mollie's only buyer, has loved Mollie for three years. Although he keeps his feelings hidden his heart soars each time Mollie walks into his office to finalize the orders for her exquisite watches. The night of the devestating fire, Zack pores his heart out to Mollie but circumstances and differences soon come between them. Zack is heartsick when Colonel Richard Lowe comes on the scene and seems to be stealing Mollie's heart. He realizes he must give Mollie her space so she can see he is the right choice but will his decision backfire or will Mollie finally discover her true feelings?
I loved Mollie's character. She was a very intelligent, strong woman who could run a business single handedly and put together a tiny pocket watch with her eyes closed all while carrying the load of providing for forty employees and their families on her shoulders. When things got tough and she was knocked flat on her back she came up swinging, full of spirit and determination. Her shining moment was the way she fought to save Frank Spencer's life during the fire. She risked her own life to save a blind man who was like a second father to her without a single care for what could happen to her. She was a very inspiring character even though there were a couple of moments when she wasn't her best self.
I was very iffy about Zack at first. He seemed very cold and arrogant, all business and very little emotion. But it wasn't long before I became his champion. What Zack had kept hidden for three years was finally brought into the light and it completely changed the image of his character. Where Colonel Lowe provided assistance when Mollie needed it and did it boldly, Zack did his best work in secret. Constantly helping Mollie without any credit or fanfare and I loved that about him.
I have to say, Miss Camden is a very talented writer. The scenes of the fire were so vivid I felt like I was among those running for what safety I could find, praying to God for survival, with cinders and ash raining down upon me. That scene completely came to life through her words. I knew about the Great Chicago Fire but I had never FELT it until I read this book. This was a beautiful story of love, family and triumph during great loss and I look forward to reading more of Miss Camden's books. I thoroughly recommend it!
**A copy of this book was privided for FREE from the publisher for my true and honest opinion.**
Mollie Knox seems to have all her ducks in a row. She is a woman with a bright future, and her career as owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company is bringing her much joy and success. She inherited the watch company from her father at the time of his death which enables Mollie to feel a sense of pride over her accomplishments. All of her dreams come crashing down around her when the great Chicago Fire devours her city, her livelihood, and her business. She has no idea how to pick up the pieces and take a step forward. It is during this time of tragedy when Mollie meets Zack. Zack is the typical male role in any romance and inspirational novel. He sweeps onto the scene looking for ways to help that anyone would love to accept except the very person is trying to help. Mollie doesn't want his help, doesn't need his help, and wants nothing to do with him.
Many great books have been written on the Great Chicago Fire. However, Elizabeth Camden does an excellent job at uniting pain and loss with hope and love. As the city of Chicago rebuilds in the aftermath of this disaster, Mollie's heart, future, and business is slowly revived through the rubble with the help of Zack's influence as an attorney. Readers will get an accurate and historical glimpse into this time of hardship in American's past, as well as be engaged and entertained by the developing love story between Mollie and Jack.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers and am not being compensated for my review.