Into The Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden is a delightful book that is a refreshing change from most of the historical fiction I have read in the past.
Mollie Knox is the owner of the 57'th Illinois Watch Company, the business that her father started and left to her when he died. She is a great business woman and has a bright future ahead of her.
Zack Kasmarek is an attorney of one of Chicago's finest department stores. He is a force to be reckoned with and he is used to getting everything he wants.
Hartman's, the company that Zack works for wants to buy Mollie's watch company. As their attorney it is Zack who makes the proposition to Mollie. Mollie's company provides work for a special group of men who fought along side Mollies dad during the war. The men include a blind man, a one legged man and other's with similar handicaps. Mollie is afraid that if she sells her company, those men who have become her family will be out of work. As she discusses the situation with Frank, the blind man, who serves as her companies attorney, they discover the true reason why the Hartman's want to buy the watch company. Furious, Mollie heads to Zack's house to confront him. Once she arrives at his house, but before she confronts him, they get word of a fire that is heading right towards Mollie's watch company. She know's she must get there fast to move her inventory and equipment before all is lost. Zack goes with her and does not leave her side. Unbeknownst to Mollie, Zach has loved her for years and when it looks like all is lost, including their lives, Zach declares his love to Mollie. Their lives are spared as they wade out into Lake Michigan to escape the flames.
After the fire there are a whirlwind of events. Kicking Zach out of her life due to his dealings in buying her company and feeling that she can't trust him, Mollie struggles to rebuild her company and life without Zack Kazmarek. Then when the handsome Colonel Lowe enters Mollie's life she has to sort through her feelings between the two men. She knows that Colonel Lowe is the "safer" man for her but she can't seem to get Zack out her mind, but will she ever be able to trust Zack again?
I love the chemistry between Zack and Mollie. They are as different as oil and water. They fight like cats and dogs, and the love and feelings they share is a whirlwind of emotions. What I enjoyed most about this book is how different it is from other historical romance books. First, you have a man that declares his love in the first part of the book, it is not drawn out, and it is the Mollie who must decide and sort out her feelings. The character of Mollie is strong, determined and courageous. She is not a weak women who needs a man to rescue her, but instead a true heroine.
I also love the history in the book. I have always been interested in the great Chicago fire and sometimes it is hard for us to understand or envision what those people went through, but the author helps give a clear picture of what it might of looked like and the terror those people went through. The author also includes a section at the end of the book that tells which parts of the book were actual events and which things were made up concerning the fire which I really enjoyed as well.
The only negative thing I will say about the book is that towards the second half it seemed a little drawn out and had a few too many details about the watch making process. Other than that it was a great book that I highly recommend!
*** This book was provided to me through Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.