Plot –> I would first like to thank BookSparks for sending me an electronic copy of AFTER THE FOG in exchange for a fair and honest review.
After the Fog by Kathleen Shoop surrounds the true story of the Donora smog environmental disaster of 1948 which occurred in a small mining community in Pennsylvania. The tragedy killed 20 people and made thousands ill. The New York Times called it “one of the worst air pollution disasters in our nation’s history.” I’d never heard of this tradgedy so it was nice to read something different. Told from the perspective of a young nurse from the town, After the Fog is a heartbreaking and engaging story. Shoop explores the tragedy without exploiting it.
World –> The setting is vivid and well-described. I could almost feel the lingering smog on the town as a heavy blanket wrapping itself around an already troubled town. Shoop creates a world that is both grim and filled with questions.
Characters –> Rose, the main character, is every kind of woman. She’s trying do it and have it all, but she knows that is not possible. Among helping the sick people in her community, she has problems of her own on the Homefront. I feel Shoop did a terrific job making the characters from Rose to the secondary players believable and realistic.
Writing –> Shoop carefully crafts a novel that is both non-fiction and fiction. Although, I was sometimes put off by Rose’s foul language. My grandmother was a young woman during the 40s and I can’t imagine her or her friends swearing like Rose. In my opinion, many women of the 40s were more reserved and somewhat prudish when it came to sex, language and violence. However, Shoop delivers on honing in on people’s worries, fears, hopes, issues of trust and dreams. From the get-go, this self-published novel didn’t feel at all like an indie effort. Shoop is a definite writer who deserves to be published traditionally. Her narrative is strong and lyrical, and brings to light a story that is genuine and easy-reading. Shoop’s story clearly show research was put into this novel.
Cover –> I really like this cover. It has a 40s vibe and also represents the tragedy. I love the coloring which showcases the gray and dreary smog-filled sky.
I’m giving AFTER THE FOG 4 “Retro Typewriters” for being solid writing, characters and world!
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