Thursday 31 October 2013

Book Review: Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

By Iola Goulton

Mollie Knox is the owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, designers and manufacturers of exclusive hand-made watches Hartman’s, the elite Chicago department store. Zack Kazmarek is the son of Polish immigrants who has risen to be the lawyer for Hartman’s. He meets Mollie every three months to approve her designs and he has fallen hard for her unique combination of passion and business sense.

Mollie is suspicious when Zack presents an offer from Hartman to purchase her business outright, especially as the offer price is more than she thinks the business is worth. She doesn’t trust Zack, so wonders what he knows that she doesn’t, because he has a reputation for not always operating within the black and white of the law. Frank Spencer, her company lawyer and a second father to her, is especially distrustful of Zack.

The story kicks straight in to the action, showing Mollie and Zack trying to escape the fire, before taking us back six days to the morning where Zack presents his offer. We are introduced to some of the employees of the 57th, named for the regiment Mollie’s father fought for in the war—the small business employs fifteen veterans from the 57th, all disabled in one way or another, and all who rely on Mollie for a livelihood.

After the fire, Mollie is struggling to re-establish the business when help arrives from General Richard Lowe, the handsome commander of the 57th, who held the company together during their most difficult battle. Neither Richard nor Zack make any secret of their feelings towards Mollie. Two very different men—who will she choose?

Mollie, Richard and Zack were all likeable characters, backed up by a strong cast of supporting characters, especially Zack’s mother and some of the employees of the 57th. The plot was excellent—very fast-paced, with a high level of tension in the scenes between Mollie and the two very different me, but particularly in the scenes during the fire. While it is Christian fiction, the faith elements were very low-key, and I think anyone who enjoys historical romance with a high level of drama would enjoy Into the Whirlwind.

Into the Whirlwind is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Why? Because it had everything I look for in a novel:
  • It had an interesting and original plot: I've heard of the Chicago fire, but never read a novel that features it as a central plot device.
  • The characters were likeable yet flawed, with real problems.
  • The faith element was clear without being preachy.
  • The writing was excellent—particularly the scenes during the fire which rivalled the best action scenes I've read.
  • It had that extra something that's hard to define, but make me want to read more of Elizabeth Camden's books.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Elizabeth Camden at her website.

I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction, and you can find out more about my services at my website, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. I love reading, and read and review around 150 Christian books each year on my blog.


  1. Thanks Iola. Sounds like an interesting book. Will get hold of it if it's not an ebook.

  2. Great review, Iola. Thank you.

  3. Hi Hazel
    Into the Whirldwind is available from for $13.99. Remember that Koorong offer a reviewing reward programme, so if you haven't got the cash, write some reviews and use your reward vouchers to buy the book. You can find more information here:

    Dorothy: thanks!

  4. I really enjoyed this review Iola. I loathe it when reviewers give too much information. I love to be surprised. I can't even watch movie trailers now as they give away far too much. Some time ago someone did a review for one of my books and told every last part of the plot. Eek!

  5. Iola, this book sounds like a fascinating read. Thanks for sharing your review with us :)


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