19th Century,  Book Reviews,  Inspirational Books,  Reading

Review: Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

On behalf of his mercantile employer, the powerful and intimidating attorney Zackariasz Kazmarek makes watchmaker Mollie Knox an offer to buy her business, a good one that must either be refused or accepted within a short period of time. She’s torn between the welfare of her employees—disabled veterans that served with her late father in the Civil War—and being relieved of the responsibility of keeping the company afloat. While the Great Chicago Fire brings Zack and Mollie together, betrayal has the power to tear them apart.


Oh. My. I loved this novel! Enough said? No? Okay, here’s the skinny.

This book arrived as a surprise from Bethany House. (And it wasn’t even my birthday.) Since Elizabeth Camden has become one of my favorite authors, I dug into it right away.

First, the cover is more beautiful on the print book than you could ever tell by looking online. Raised lettering. Raised swirly-doos. Depth to the city street. Very classy.

Second, Into the Whirlwind is the first novel I’ve read in a while that I found downright difficult to put down. Not that I haven’t been absorbed by and enjoyed other stories I’ve read lately. But when I did need to leave this one, I couldn’t wait to come back…

and either ring Zack Kazmarek’s neck or cheer on his efforts. Honestly, I had a serious love/hate relationship with that man. 

Zack is intense and passionate. In his work, he straddles the line between ethical and shady. Mollie is level-headed and pragmatic, though she worries about everything (with good reason). Both like to be in control, and both are driven to succeed in what they do. Then along comes Colonel Richard Lowe, war hero. He’s handsome, brave, smart. What’s a girl to do?

The setting is Chicago on the cusp of the great fire that destroyed a good portion of the city in 1871. Had I known how much I’d be sucked into the actions and emotion once the fire started (before, actually), I would have grabbed a snack and taken a nap first. Who wants to stop reading for something as mundane as food and sleep?

In this novel and Against the Tide, Elizabeth Camden has proven skillful at engaging her readers with deep, complex characters and a powerful story. 

As a writer of 19th-century historicals myself, I felt Ms. Camden used a few word choices which were more contemporary than the period, but I’m not one to dismiss a whole book for something like that. I also felt Mollie’s change of heart in the end was a bit rushed. Even so, the rest of the story more than made up for these things.

Into the Whirlwind releases in August, and I highly recommend it. Can you tell?

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Disclosure of Material Connection: This book came to me free from the publisher, Bethany House, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

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