Book Review: After the Fog by Kathleen Shoop

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After the Fog reminds us that the sins of our past come back to haunt us and unknowingly shapes who we are in the present.

From Goodreads:
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?

Rose is having one hellish week. Her job is in jeopardy, her family is falling apart and her secret past is turning her inside out. On top of all that, the people of Donora, PA are dropping dead from the “killing smog”. This mix makes for a compelling read.

I really like Rose. She’s such a complex character, hopelessly flawed and deeply scarred but at the same time courageous, kind and caring. She’s a no-nonsense hard-working gal that calls it as she sees it. She can curse like a sailor and drink like one too. She’s a mom that wants secure futures for her children. She’s a wife that never denies her husband his pleasures and puts up with his less than ideal family. She’s a caring, take charge nurse. I think any working mom can relate to Rose’s struggles, that need to be everything to everybody.

It’s the 1940’s and many townsfolk think Rose would do better to stay home and take care of her family. She’s constantly battling against tradition and trying to juggle everything. Rose has broad shoulders but even they can only carry so much. She struggles with forgiving herself so she can give herself to those she loves.

Not surprisingly, the things that go on behind the closed doors of this mill town are troubling. Hate, lies and deceit descend like the fog itself.

I would have liked the story to have delved into the “killing smog” a little bit more. The book starts off on a run with a death and loses a little of that steam midway. It ends up being well-rounded and very well thought out though. I really enjoyed being surprised by some of the revelations that were revealed.

This book was provided for review by Netgalley.

View this book on Goodreads.
View this book on Amazon.

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