Date Published: August 1, 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Romance
Book Source: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for my honest opinion.
As owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, Mollie Knox’s future looks bright until the night the legendary Great Chicago Fire destroys her beloved city. With her world crumbling around her, Mollie will do whatever it takes to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating fire.
Zack Kazmarek, an influential attorney for one of Chicago’s finest department stores, is a force to be reckoned with among the city’s most powerful citizens. Bold and shrewd, he’s accustomed to getting exactly what he wants–until he meets Mollie Knox, the beguiling businesswoman just beyond his reach.
In the tumult as the people of Chicago race to rebuild a bigger and better city, Mollie comes face-to-face with the full force of Zack’s character and influence. Zack believes this may finally be his chance to win her, but can Mollie ever accept this man and his whirlwind effect on her life, especially with her treasured company on the line?
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Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. She has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.
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Zack’s hand was like iron as he hauled her back. “That bridge isn’t going to hold! I won’t watch you kill yourself. We can make it to the bridge on Clark Street.”
For the first time tonight, there was anger in his face. In all the years she had known the impeccable Zack Kazmarek, there had never been a hint of a pulse beneath tailored suits and starched collar, but the way he was looking at her now, with desperation in his eyes, and grasping her arms as though he couldn’t bear to let her go made her think…
She shoved the thought away. He looked mad enough to fling her into the river. “Why are you angry at me?” she asked.
The question ratcheted him even closer to the boiling point. “Because for some insane reason, I adore you. For three solid years I have thought you were the closest thing to perfection on this earth, and I can’t watch you risk your life crossing that bridge!”
Had she understood correctly? After all these years of cold decorum, Zack’s eyes glittered in a face streaked with soot and sweat as he stepped closer, shouting over the roar of wind and fire. “I’ve been insane about you since you walked into my office three years ago in that ridiculous suit and your hair as prim as a schoolmarm,” he shouted. “Don’t you dare get yourself killed on me now!”
Mollie Knox, owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Co., is proud of her thriving business and her employees, most of which were disabled members of the 57th Infantry alongside her father. Mollie had kept her father’s wish of keeping these disabled men employed since his death. They are a close knit group, a “family” of sorts, and Mollie carries the burden of providing them with jobs and keeping the business afloat on her shoulders. But business is thriving and good things are on the horizon until the night of devestation that would forever change the lives of the entire city of Chicago. The Great Chicago Fire tears through the city leveling businesses and homes and leaving nothing but destruction in it’s wake. Mollie is determined to rebuild her prized company and provide for her employees. What she needs is a miracle and God is just big enough to provide it. Torn between her love for Zack Kazmarek and her new feelings for Colonel Richard Lowe, will Mollie realize that the “better choice” isn’t always the RIGHT choice?
Zack Kazmarek, an attorney for Hartman’s Inc., Mollie’s only buyer, has loved Mollie for three years. Although he keeps his feelings hidden his heart soars each time Mollie walks into his office to finalize the orders for her exquisite watches. The night of the devestating fire, Zack pores his heart out to Mollie but circumstances and differences soon come between them. Zack is heartsick when Colonel Richard Lowe comes on the scene and seems to be stealing Mollie’s heart. He realizes he must give Mollie her space so she can see he is the right choice but will his decision backfire or will Mollie finally discover her true feelings?
I loved Mollie’s character. She was a very intelligent, strong woman who could run a business single handedly and put together a tiny pocket watch with her eyes closed all while carrying the load of providing for forty employees and their families on her shoulders. When things got tough and she was knocked flat on her back she came up swinging, full of spirit and determination. Her shining moment was the way she fought to save Frank Spencer’s life during the fire. She risked her own life to save a blind man who was like a second father to her without a single care for what could happen to her. She was a very inspiring character even though there were a couple of moments when she wasn’t her best self.
I was very iffy about Zack at first. He seemed very cold and arrogant, all business and very little emotion. But it wasn’t long before I became his champion. What Zack had kept hidden for three years was finally brought into the light and it completely changed the image of his character. Where Colonel Lowe provided assistance when Mollie needed it and did it boldly, Zack did his best work in secret. Constantly helping Mollie without any credit or fanfare and I loved that about him.
I have to say, Miss Camden is a very talented writer. The scenes of the fire were so vivid I felt like I was among those running for what safety I could find, praying to God for survival, with cinders and ash raining down upon me. That scene completely came to life through her words. I knew about the Great Chicago Fire but I had never FELT it until I read this book. This was a beautiful story of love, family and triumph during great loss and I look forward to reading more of Miss Camden’s books. I thoroughly recommend it!
**While I was given a free copy of this book for my honest opinion, I was in no way compensated for this review**Click to Tweet: The Great Chicago Fire Might Have Destroyed Everything They Owned But It Couldn’t Destroy Their Spirit