Review: Drawn by the Current, by Jocelyn Green

OVERVIEW

book cover

Lives depend on the truth she uncovers.
She can’t give up her search.

A birthday excursion turns deadly when the SS Eastland capsizes with Olive Pierce and her best friend on board. Hundreds perish during the accident, and it’s only when Olive herself barely escapes that she discovers her friend is among the victims.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Olive returns to her work at a Chicago insurance agency and is immersed in the countless investigations related to the accident. But with so many missing, there are few open-and-shut cases, and she tries to balance her grief with the hard work of finding the truth.

While someone sabotages her progress, Olive accepts the help of newspaper photographer Erik Magnussen. As they unravel secrets, the truths they discover impact those closest to Olive. How long will the disaster haunt her–and how can she help the others find the peace they deserve?

MY REVIEW

One family, three pivotal moments of Chicago’s history.

Family sagas can be powerful reads. Once you’ve completed one, you may well find yourself wanting to read them all. Jocelyn Green’s Windy City Saga has featured the Townsend family, from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 to the SS Eastland maritime disaster 44 years later. During that time span, readers have seen sisters Meg and Sylvie Townsend come of age and have families of their own.

The last book in the trilogy, Drawn by the Current, features Meg’s daughter, Olive. Jocelyn Green has done an amazing job at capturing the emotions of the day of the Eastland disaster: from the air of excitement as passengers boarded, to the fear and panic they experienced as the vessel capsized. Readers then get to share in the confusion and grief of the family members trying to find loved ones, as well as the post-traumatic stress of the survivors. Green also weaves in the difficult topic of spousal abuse, which becomes the main reason for the suspense element of the novel.

I’m usually about the journey rather than the ending, especially when it comes to novels involving romance. But while there is suspense in Drawn by the Current, it is the epilogue in this case that spoke loudest to me. Firstly, it meant saying goodbye not only to a family, but also to a fictional bookstore that had become a living, breathing character in its own right. There was also my desire that Jocelyn Green would write a series of suspense novels based on Olive’s life after the conclusion of The Windy City Saga. Above all, however, it is about remembering an historical tragedy, seeing the names of some of the deceased – including entire families – and wishing there had been space to include all eight hundred and forty-four souls who lost their lives that day on the Chicago River.

RATING

Rating: 5 out of 5.

BOOK INFORMATION

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 01 February 2022

Book Information

Excerpt

JOCELYN GREEN

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, strawberry rhubarb pie, the color red, and reading with a cup of tea. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Jocelyn Green’s website

THE SETTING

On a summer’s day in 1915, over 2500 people boarded the SS Eastland for a company picnic. One third of them wouldn’t leave the boat alive. According to the Eastland Disaster Historical Society website, the vessel began to list within 10 minutes of the first passengers boarding. Attempts were made to right it, but the listing continued as passengers embarked at the rate of 50 per minute. Passengers were asked to move to one side without success. Within an hour of the first passengers boarding, the Eastland slid silently onto its side on the Chicago River. Those on the top deck were easiest to rescue, but many were on lower levels due to rain. There was neither time to distribute life preservers nor launch life rafts.

The above photograph comes from the Easter Disaster Historical Society website.

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