After the Fog

Book Review: After the Fog – Kathleen Shoop

About After the Fog (2012)

After the FogRose Pavlesic is a straight-talking, gifted nurse who is also controlling and demanding. She has to be to ensure her life is mistake-free and to create a life for her children that reflects everything she missed as an orphaned child. Rose has managed to keep her painful secrets buried in her past, away from her loving husband—who she discovers has secrets of his own—their dutiful children and their large extended, complicated family.

But, as a stagnant weather cycle works to trap poisonous gasses from the three mills in town, Rose’s nursing career thrusts her into a conflict of interest she never could have fathomed—putting the lives of her loved ones at risk. As the fog thickens, Rose’s neighbors are dying; thousands of people in the community are becoming increasingly ill. Rose is faced with decisions that can destroy her carefully constructed House of Pavlesic and reveal its true character.

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Review: After the Fog

Rose Pavlesic is a very together woman – on the surface. Devoted to her role of Community Nurse, Rose finds the problems of the townspeople quickly overwhelm her thoughts. Luckily, her family are all headed in the right direction so there’s nothing there to worry about… or so she thinks. However, Rose is about to find that pre-emptive care doesn’t only apply to nursing – and sometimes you need to look after your own above anyone else.

Set against the backdrop of the real life tragedy of the Donora Smog (1948), After the Fog tells the story of Rose and her family – ordinary, hardworking people, trying to make their way in a town where obstacles are rife. From the huge disaster of the Donora Smog, to lack of funding in the town, to general prejudice and misunderstanding, the challenges are many.

I thought After the Fog was an excellent read and the amount of research that Kathleen Shoop must have put in is evidenced by the excellent attention to detail within the story. Shoop must have researched the Donora history, the 1948 smog event and mid-twentieth century nursing thoroughly to have produced such an excellent piece of historical fiction.

In addition, Shoop shows great skill in writing a main character – Rose – who is not entirely likeable, yet who still elicits a great deal of empathy. It’s easy to judge Rose as being absorbed in her work, taking her family for granted and so forth. Yet by the end of the book it seems impossible not to care about Rose and we have a much clearer understanding of the character.

If I dealt in half scores, this would – without doubt – be 4.5. As it is, it’s certainly a very solid and well deserved 4 out of 5. This is a great book, with a wonderful story and Shoop is certainly a writer to keep an eye on in the future.

Verdict: 4/5

(Book source: reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review)

Author: Donna Brown Donna is a longtime book lover and sometime book reviewer and has devoured books from an early age. She writes short (or long) stories as and when inspiration hits and is married to fantasy author David M. Brown (Fezariu's Epiphany, A World Apart). She was also co-contributor to David's book, Man vs Cat, a humorous look at life with six rambunctious rescue cats. Donna has lived in many different areas of the UK over the last 30-something years but has remained in Yorkshire for the past decade. She ardently disputes the misnomer that 'It's grim up north'.

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