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WandaNCAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth CamdenSeptember 2, 2013WandaNCAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Mollie 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.**
Ruth StilesCentral NYAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5August 31, 2013Ruth StilesCentral NYAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Mollie 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.
Sarah HTexasAge: 18-24Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Wow! Amazing bookAugust 27, 2013Sarah HTexasAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Age 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.
Booklover105 Stars Out Of 5Great novel!August 26, 2013Booklover10Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Elizabeth 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.
RosieAge: Under 18Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5August 23, 2013RosieAge: Under 18Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5A wonderful, whirlwind, of a story!
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!