Archive for August 2012

After the Fog by Kathleen Shoop

Alright folks.  After a way-too-long hiatus from blogging, I’m [hopefully] back. And with some wonderful books that I must tell you about!

First, “After the Fog” by Kathleen Shoop.  One day recently, I was in the mood to read something Pittsburgh-y.  Wasn’t sure what.  I thought I’d just type “Pittsburgh” into Amazon’s book search and see what came up.  That’s how I found this gem.

From Amazon:

 The sins of the mother… In the mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania, site of the infamous 1948 “killing smog,” headstrong nurse Rose Pavlesic tends to her family and neighbors. Controlling and demanding, she’s created a life that reflects everything she missed growing up as an orphan. She’s even managed to keep her painful secrets hidden from her loving husband, dutiful children, and large extended family. When a stagnant weather pattern traps poisonous mill gasses in the valley, neighbors grow sicker and Rose’s nursing obligations thrust her into conflict she never could have fathomed. Consequences from her past collide with her present life, making her once clear decisions as gray as the suffocating smog. As pressure mounts, Rose finds she’s not the only one harboring lies. When the deadly fog finally clears, the loss of trust and faith leaves the Pavlesic family—and the whole town—splintered and shocked. With her new perspective, can Rose finally forgive herself and let her family’s healing begin?

I’ll just come right out and say it – I LOVED this book.  So many things about it.  First of all, I don’t know if I’ve actually ever been in Donora before.  It’s a town south of the city of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River, for those not familiar.  But there are SO many other little towns like that around here that I could picture it anyway.  Heck, for the past three years, I lived right across the river from a coke plant and saw the smoke and flame every day (most air-polluted borough, not FTW!).  I have ancestors on both sides of my family that worked in the local steel and tin mills.  So I was thinking of what my family members may have gone through as I was reading this book.

Second, I feel like I KNEW Rose and her family.  They could be anyone around here.  Early yinzers, perhaps.  Even though the story took place in the 1940s, I felt like I could really put myself in the story and feel like it was happening “now”.  I also learned a lot about the history of the mills around here.  I had no idea about this “fog” (what we’d now refer to as smog) that happened when this story occurred.  That part is real even though the story is fiction, but some parts of the story and some characters are based on some historical records and stories that Kathleen Shoop was able to dig up.

This book seemed long compared to other books I’ve read recently on my Kindle, but that’s a good thing because I didn’t want it to end!  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  I honestly think it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  The story, the characters, everything just came together.  I’ve already recommended it to a few people and am now telling YOU to go buy/download it if you’re interested in reading Pittsburgh historical fiction.  Kathleen Shoop also has another book out that I can’t wait to read.  I don’t think it’s based in Pittsburgh, but still sounds really good. Check it ‘aht!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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