Set against the backdrop of the 1871 Great Fire that swept through Chicago, this first novel for adults in the Windy City Saga relates the tale of sisters Meg and Sylvie and their father Stephen Townsend, who suffers debilitating stress and paranoia due to his stay in a prison camp during the American Civil War.
Before the fire, the sisters try to maintain a stable environment for their father as they run their treasured book store. But the fire steals almost all their material possessions and more besides, causing lifetime scars. Worst of all, during the fire, Stephen goes missing, gun in hand, and when he is found afterward, he’s accused of murdering his friend. Without a trial, Stephen is sent to the Cook County Insane Asylum.
Leaning on the kindness of friends and neighbors, Meg and Sylvie attempt to rebuild their lives with one goal in mind—to prove their father’s innocence and to secure his release from the asylum. But not all things are as they appear to be, and the sisters face confusion, betrayal, and disillusionment.
Each member of the family struggles to survive emotionally and spiritually; they look to God for help. Realistically and without sermonizing, author Jocelyn Green portrays their faith journey; doubt, anger, love, trust, resentment, hope, and more emotions converge, as is natural on the faith journey of most Christian believers.
Veiled in Smoke is a fascinating glimpse into the aftermath of the Great Fire, the moral complicity of both sides of the Civil War, and the harrowing experience of and treatment for “soldier’s heart” (later, named Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for the returning soldiers and their families. Author Jocelyn Green combines the suspense of a well-developed mystery, the reality of historical fiction, budding romance, literary insights, and biblical truth to offer a satisfying read. (Bethany House Publishers)