Age Appropriate For: 15 and up (reading level and moderate romance)
Best for Ages: 18 and up
How can I even begin to describe how much I loved this book? Maybe if I tell you that Elizabeth Camden is now my favorite author you will start to understand. I don't think I have ever read an author with such well-developed characters. Against the Tide and this book had characters that I fell in love with so much that I loved a plot that I wouldn't normally like.
I so understood Mollie. I feel as if she is a real person and I could meet her someday. She was an excellent heroine who had her strengths and her flaws. She thrives on order but is forced to live in chaos after the Chicago fire. Her response was so real and understandable, as well as courageous at the same time.
Zack_ At first I didn't like him, then I loved him, then I hated him, and then I wanted to marry him. He was that well written. Like Mollie he was deep. He had his strengths and his flaws. I loved how complex he was. His parents? They added such a wonderful dimension to the story.
One thing I was asked about while reading this book was how the love triangle worked. Typically, I dislike love triangles because someone (usually the girl) ends up looking really stupid. They spend half the book trying to decide which guy, and I want to scream at the character because the choice is obvious. Into the Whirlwind was very different. Yes, the main girl does struggle to choose between two guys. However, her struggle is very real and understandable. I totally got why she wasn't sure and why she considered another guy. I also think the resolution was very believable, not sappy-roll-your-eyes like many love triangle endings.
The setting of this book was amazing. I really do feel like I was there during the fire. I came away knowing a lot more about it than I did before. Having seen a few nature disasters in our area (the Bastrop, Texas fire took place not too far from where I live) I have an understanding of how people react. Elizabeth Camden captured the emotions and feelings so well.
I can't say enough about this book. You just have to buy a copy for yourself and let yourself be swept_Into the Whirlwind.
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are entirely my own.
Elizabeth Camden is an author that never fails to captivate her readers from the very beginning of her books. This book didn't disappoint at all. I liked everything about this book, from cover to cover and in between.
I have read several fiction books about the Chicago fire, but none that have been in so much detail as this book. In other books, I feel like it's just the minor fact in the story. This story thrives on the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In fact, the first almost 100 pages of the book is devoted to the fire itself....well, and a little back story of what happened in the 6 days leading up to the fire. I loved the history thrown into this story and how I was able to imagine the fear those people had felt. I simply can't imagine standing in freezing water and watching your city burn and to have to leave behind a framed picture--the only picture you have--of your father and what was close to his heart.
Zack Kazmarek is an intimidating lawyer who has apparently fallen head over heels in love for Mollie Knox, the owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company that her father created and she inherited after her father's death. However, for Zack to act on his feelings would mean a most certain death to his career with the infamous Hartman....the one who has a lot of money and keeps the watch company in business by buying so many of their watches for their stores. Mollie has no idea of Zack's intentions and to her, he seems arrogant and rude and downright mean. You could even add sneaky and a trickster to the list, although Zack would disagree with those last two.
Zack had to grow on me. I didn't like his attitude and I definitely didn't like the way that he treated Mollie. I liked Mollie from the beginning. She seemed to be smart and caring and didn't care if she lost a deal. She met problems head on and took care of those who needed help. Who couldn't like her?!
After having read several books by Elizabeth Camden, I have to say that I think this is her best book. She keeps getting better and better! Can't wait to see what she comes up with next!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
I was swept away into Chicago, 1871. We follow the story through the Great Fire and into the rebuilding of the city. I found myself fascinated by Mollie's watch company and how business, among other things, was conducted. Camden did fabulous with her research. The emotions Mollie and Zach experienced after the fire were the perfect amount, enough to be realistic but not too much for the reader to lose interest.
There's nothing quite like getting lost in a historical setting and enjoying the characters, the conflict, and their personal journeys. Mollie truly felt real. She's level-headed, intelligent, and likable. She has her flaws, but she strives to do the right thing by her employees, most of whom are veterans from the Civil War.
Into the Whirlwind hosts many side characters, but I never felt there were too many or that they were imposing too much on Mollie. It's a hard balance but Camden pulled if off expertly. As for me, I liked Declan and Alice best and I'm hoping that maybe we'll see Declan again in a future book...?? ;) Ahem.
In sum, I believe Into the Whirlwind is my new favorite, of the works I've read, from Camden. I teared up more than once. There were many times I didn't know how things would work out. Times I had to set the book down and reflect on the characters, on the decisions they made. I would love to read about these characters again. The book was that enjoyable.
I received this book from CFBA through the publisher in return for an honest review of opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
This latest novel from author Elizabeth Camden is set in Chicago in the year 1871. Mollie Knox has become owner of a watch making company after the death of her father 3 years ago. Her father was a Civil War veteran and one of his rules was that anyone from his former army troop who wanted a job would have one with his company. So Mollie's company employs some of the men who wouldn't be able to find work anywhere else. It is a small company and everyone treats each other as members of one big family. Trouble brews on the horizon as the single largest account, a local department store, offers to buy the watch factory. However, if their offer isn't accepted, they will no longer do business with Mollie's company. This would bankrupt the company and Mollie must look out for the welfare of her employees. The lawyer working with the department store only gives her one week to make a decision. Why must she decide so quickly? The lawyer is handsome, but has a reputation as an aggressive man who always gets what he wants. The watch company has been in her family for 30 years. Can she really sell her father's company, the one he worked so hard to start and make successful? If she doesn't sell, who is going to buy the very expensive watches her company makes?
Zack Kazmarek learned how to be aggressive when he was growing up poor, the child of Polish immigrants and working on the fishing docks. He learned how to bend rules, but not break them to get what he wanted. He continues this as a rich store owner "discovers" him, pays for his education and in return Zack gives him complete loyalty. He has been dealing with Mollie Knox for the past 3 years on a quarterly basis when he would buy her watch inventory for the department story. Zack is now wealthy and has moved his Polish parents in with him and out of their poor neighborhood. He has admired and respected and slowly fallen in love with Mollie over the years of their acquaintance. Zack always gets what he wants and decides Mollie is the one to be his wife. However, the deal to buy her business stands in the way. He has offered on behalf of his client to buy the deed to some property she found in one of her father's old trunks. He wants a quick resolution to this problem so he can court her. Is he making a fair offer? Before their business can be concluded, the Great Chicago Fire erupts, sending the city into chaos with Zack and Mollie caught in the middle. A budding romance develops between the two, but will Zack tell Mollie the truth about the deed?
While this story started off well, it soon became tedious and repetitious in phrasing as Mollie falls "into a whirlwind" more than once as well as other repetitions. Zack comes off as demeaning and bullying towards Mollie more than once in my opinion. He deceives her, she discovers it and then he blithely expects to take her out to lunch and thinks she will get over it once she calms down. I didn't think the romance clicked between Mollie and Zack. I did like seeing how people pulled together to help one another after such a great tragedy where so many lost so much. I also liked the historical context. This is not a book I would put on my "keeper" shelf, but one still worth reading.