Title: Drawn by the Current
Author: Jocelyn Green
Series: The Windy City Saga, book 3
Major Themes: Mysteries, Tragedies, Chicago
Synopsis: When the SS Eastland capsizes with Olive and her best friend on board, and she barely escapes—then finds out her friend didn’t—she is left scrambling, trying to work through her grief and help others who have lost their loved ones.
I’ve been getting every Jocelyn Green book I can get my hands on ever since I read Between Two Shores, the book that introduced me to her writings. Drawn by the Current is her most recent release, and as I’ve come to expect from her, it was a worthwhile mystery packed with well-formed characters, thoroughly researched history, and in all an excellent continuation of her turn-of-the-century Chicago-based series.
Olive Pierce has never known a time when people didn’t need her. As a helper for her mother, and later, a life insurance agent, she’s able to help many people out in their various difficult situations, and she loves having the privilege of doing that. But she would love to be more—do more—and though her mother has leaned on her for many years, she isn’t really needed in the same capacity anymore. Then, a birthday expedition turns into a disaster as the steamship she and her best friend are on overturns in the Chicago River. Though she is rescued, her friend is listed among the dead, and Olive wallows in grief. Returning to work and immersing herself in the multitude of cases should help—but with far too many people unaccounted for, the workload is immense. How long will it take before she can find healing for her own pain, let alone those who are relying on her for answers she can’t give?
I think the part of Drawn by the Current that I appreciated the most was the way Jocelyn Green brought the capsizing of the SS Eastland to life. I’d never heard of that tragedy before encountering it in this book, and the magnitude of the loss of life was staggering. I loved seeing the resiliency God has given to us, as humans, though; despite the tragedy, life still went on. People still had faith that God would take care of them.
The other part I enjoyed was the mystery—that was extraordinarily well done. I’m not the type of person to guess the ending early on; my brain isn’t wired that way, but I loved following through the process with the other characters as one piece at a time was put together.
Though I expected this to be a good book, I didn’t expect how good it would be. The first book in this series, Veiled in Smoke, still gets points as my favorite by her so far, but this comes as a close second. From delightful characters to the gripping story—keeping me up late at night, and hardly getting anything done during the day because I was thinking about it—to the element of learning to rest in Christ for our identity, rather than our job or the labels we’ve given ourselves—I appreciated everything in Drawn by the Current. Highly recommended!
I was given a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: An abusive marriage is mentioned throughout the book, with the wife frequently bruised by her husband. One lie is carried on throughout the book, and women’s rights are referenced several times. Blazes or a variant is used in ch. 1; goodness or “for goodness’ sake” is used in ch. 2 (twice), 12, 13, 22, 23 (twice), 27, and 29 (twice); gracious is used in ch. 3; blast is used in ch. 3, 5, 11, and 14; heavens or a variant is used in ch. 5 and 25; sworn is used in ch. 11 and 14; drat is used in ch. 14; and “good grief” is used in ch. 23. There is lying in ch. 18, 30, and 31. A ship capsizes in ch. 6, and there are descriptions of being trapped inside it and hearing people go quiet as they drown. This scene continues through ch. 7. A woman nearly drowns in ch. 17. There are a couple of descriptions of what would be done to an unclaimed body in ch. 18. Someone tries to shoot several people in ch. 31 and 32—somewhat intense scenes with some fighting. Suicide is talked about in ch. 6 and 8. People are heard praying to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in ch. 7. Men try to harm a woman in ch. 16, but someone comes to her rescue and there is a tussle. An unmarried couple touches (hugging, holding hands, around the waist, etc.) in ch. 16, 17, 21, 23 (also a kiss), 25, 32, and 33 (also more kissing), and the epilogue (also another kiss).
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults