What It’s About:
Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago’s business district, they lose much more than just their store.
The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they 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 not only died during the fire–he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.
Though homeless, injured, 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.Goodreads
Veiled in Smoke is historical fiction novel set in Chicago during the Reconstruction era (1871 to be specific). I enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons. First, the setting and time period were interesting. I learned a little about history, such as:
- the Great Chicago Fire
- the effects of the Civil War on society
- the care and treatment of prisoners or war and the mentally ill
I struggled a little with the familial relationships between Meg, Sylvie, and her father. Throughout the book, they have very strained relationships and interactions. It makes sense because they are going to very difficult times and are struggling to get their family back together, but it sometimes made it hard to really root for their success.
The murder mystery also had it’s positives and negatives. The murder plays an important turning point in the story. However, I often felt like the solving the mystery got buried under all the other things going on between the characters. It was interesting to see Nate’s involvement in the investigation because his job as a journalist gave him knowledge and connections that the Townsends didn’t have. He was probably my favorite character even in the book.
Veiled in Smoke could also be classified as a Christian fiction book. The characters often rely on their faith to help them through their difficult times. The romance in this book is also very low key, with mostly hand holding and a few kisses here and there. I enjoyed seeing the relationship develop between the main love interests.
Overall, Veiled in Smoke was a good read. I liked the setting and the whodunit surprised me. I knew who did it, but the methods they used caught me off guard. This book would be something you might pick up on sale or at the library. The second and third books in the series sound really interesting and I will keep my eye out out for them.