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The sins of the mother...
In the steel 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'm so impressed with Kathleen Shoop. Her tasty novel, The Last Letter, was based on letters that were in her family. I admit it, I wondered if that was a one hit wonder...I'm sure authors have them too.
Nope, she's great. She took this very real tragedy that happened in Donora where there were 3 mills to service all the surrounding mines. Being in a valley that held onto fog, the smoke from the mills was held in place. It really made me ill reading about the people walking around in the poisonous fog. Unhealthy people died, healthy people became ill...for days no one could even see, driving...WALKING was dangerous, driving was impossible.
Then mixed in with that was Rose's life getting turned upside down. What a well written character that far too many women will relate too. Her husband and family were also given a great deal of depth. She lived with her husband, her teenage twins (boy/girl), brother-in-law with his wife and young son, and her husband's aged aunt & uncle. Very crowded, and while Rose and Henry worked hard for their own place something always comes up to prevent it.
The plot was full to bursting and the story read as though in a dream. I think its because we are observing a memory in the present tense. It was so engaging, I couldn't put it down. Did you read The Last Letter? If not, you should get that and this. Both are wonderful stories.