Into The Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden
Bethany House Publishers, August 1st, 2013

As owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, Mollie Knox’s future looks bright until the night the legendary Great Chicago Fire destroys her beloved city. With her world crumbling around her, Mollie will do whatever it takes to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek, an influential attorney for one of Chicago’s finest department stores, is a force to be reckoned with among the city’s most powerful citizens. Bold and shrewd, he’s accustomed to getting exactly what he wants–until he meets Mollie Knox, the beguiling businesswoman just beyond his reach.

In the tumult as the people of Chicago race to rebuild a bigger and better city, Mollie comes face-to-face with the full force of Zack’s character and influence. Zack believes this may finally be his chance to win her, but can Mollie ever accept this man and his whirlwind effect on her life, especially with her treasured company on the line?

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Elizabeth Camden’s books. So I was really happy to dive into her latest book. I have to say that while I was interested and at no stage did I want to stop reading the book, I did not love it.

I’ve been mulling on this fact for a few days now, trying to figure out why this is. First off though, the things I did love. Setting the story amidst the Great Chicago Fire was great! I didn’t know much at all about this and was fascinated by the events of that time, thus I eagerly devoured the story based on this. Watching the characters reconstruct their lives amongst the debris’ of a broken city was great. Reading this book made me want to go to Chicago and learn all about the fire.The pace was quick and kept me on the edge of my seat for much of the book – always a good thing.

What I had trouble with really, was Zack and Mollie. I found the basis of their relationship hard to grapple with and believe. At some stages, I really didn’t like the way these two treated each other. For me, the romance happened so fast and derailed so fast that I wasn’t sure these two actually had time to process their feelings for each other – especially Mollie. Yet, through all this I was still rooting for them and wishing Mollie would seriously get her head together make the right choices – on many levels not just with Zack.

So, considering I felt passionately about this book, must mean that although I didn’t love it, it impacted me. That’s a sign of a good writer! I struggled with Zack and Mollie, like I might struggle with people in my life acting the way these two did – frustrating and exasperating.

So what do I recommend? This is a well-written, fast paced read packed with great historical insight, with characters who will grab your heart (in both great and frustrating ways) and stay with you after you’ve finished the book. That’s generally a recipe to read a book!

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.