Through the Smoke by Brenda Novak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am reviewing this from an ARC given o me by the author. All thoughts are my honest opinion.
This author is relatively new to me. I have read two Whiskey Creek novels from her. When I was offered the opportunity to read Through the Smoke, I took it for two reasons. One, I wanted to see if her writing was the same caliber across genres. Two, I am, proudly, from a coal mining family. I really wanted to see how that was written of. I am not a big historical romance fan. Most who know me, know I read across genres. You never know what I am reading but it is usually not historical romance. The reason for this is that sometimes the author gets so caught up in the language, the fashions, the customs that I feel like I am reading a school book with a little romance tossed in. Through the Smoke surprised me. I was so lost in the story that I had to actually go back and check for the above mentioned items to write the review! Yes there is a bit of language differences, references to fashion and customs but the main thing was the story. That is why I am giving this book 5 stars. Ms. Novak wrote a story. One you can get lost in. One you can feel the characters in. One you laugh, cry and get angry in. For me, one that represented coal miners. Yes there were some ugly, hard coal miners in it. But there were also references to hard workers doing a hard job for their families. Coal miner's have rarely made their worth. Whole families have lived and died for coal. And some miner's have been rough, ugly men who were hard on any woman stepping down into the mines. Different countries and different eras, I was still able to relate to the coal mining references. Kudos to Ms. Novak.
The story itself takes many twist and turns. When I thought I had it figured out, I was given pieces to make me doubt my choice. By the time I absolutely knew I was far to invested in how it would play out to care I guessed it. I recommend Through the Smoke not just to fans of historical romance and romance in general but also to those who are interested in exploring the historical romance genre. The book is due out fall of 2013 and I think it is a perfect time to get lost for a weekend. Wear your favorite jammies, put something in the crock pot, grab your favorite beverage and get comfy...then get swept away.
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For more on Brenda Novak please see her webpage at http://www.brendanovak.com/