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Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

Title:  Into the Whirlwind
Author:  Elizabeth Camden
Pages:  374
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Bethany House
This latest novel from author Elizabeth Camden is set in Chicago in the year 1871.  Mollie Knox has become owner of a watch making company after the death of her father 3 years ago.  Her father was a Civil War veteran and one of his rules was that anyone from his former army troop who wanted a job would have one with his company.  So Mollie’s company employs some of the men who wouldn’t be able to find work anywhere else.  It is a small company and everyone treats each other as members of one big family.  Trouble brews on the horizon as the single largest account, a local department store, offers to buy the watch factory.  However, if their offer isn’t accepted, they will no longer do business with Mollie’s company.  This would bankrupt the company and Mollie must look out for the welfare of her employees.  The lawyer working with the department store only gives her one week to make a decision.  Why must she decide so quickly?  The lawyer is handsome, but has a reputation as an aggressive man who always gets what he wants.  The watch company has been in her family for 30 years.  Can she really sell her father’s company, the one he worked so hard to start and make successful?  If she doesn’t sell, who is going to buy the very expensive watches her company makes?
Zack Kazmarek learned how to be aggressive when he was growing up poor, the child of Polish immigrants and working on the fishing docks.  He learned how to bend rules, but not break them to get what he wanted.  He continues this as a rich store owner “discovers” him, pays for his education and in return Zack gives him complete loyalty.  He has been dealing with Mollie Knox for the past 3 years on a quarterly basis when he would buy her watch inventory for the department story.  Zack is now wealthy and has moved his Polish parents in with him and out of their poor neighborhood.  He has admired and respected and slowly fallen in love with Mollie over the years of their acquaintance.  Zack always gets what he wants and decides Mollie is the one to be his wife.  However, the deal to buy her business stands in the way.  He has offered on behalf of his client to buy the deed to some property she found in one of her father’s old trunks.  He wants a quick resolution to this problem so he can court her.  Is he making a fair offer?  Before their business can be concluded, the Great Chicago Fire erupts, sending the city into chaos with Zack and Mollie caught in the middle.  A budding romance develops between the two, but will Zack tell Mollie the truth about the deed?
While this story started off well, it soon became tedious and repetitious in phrasing as Mollie falls “into a whirlwind” more than once as well as other repetitions.  Zack comes off as demeaning and bullying towards Mollie more than once in my opinion.  He deceives her, she discovers it and then he blithely expects to take her out to lunch and thinks she will get over it once she calms down.  I didn’t think the romance clicked between Mollie and Zack.  I did like seeing how people pulled together to help one another after such a great tragedy where so many lost so much.  I also liked the historical context.  This is not a book I would put on my “keeper” shelf, but one still worth reading.
My rating is 3 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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