Title: Shadows of the White City
Author: Jocelyn Green
Series: Windy City Saga, book 2
Major Themes: Adoption, Chicago World Fair, Mysteries
Synopsis: When her adopted daughter goes missing in the Chicago World Fair, Sylvie must choose to trust the Lord to deliver her back safely again.
After thoroughly enjoying the first book in The Windy City Saga series, I couldn’t wait until the next one came out—and when Shadows of the White City appeared, I snatched it up immediately! This book is quite different from the prequel, Veiled in Smoke. Where that was about a historic catastrophe, this is about a thriving city—and the time around the Chicago World Fair, as described here, was both fascinating and intriguing. The depth of the characters, in both books, was quite striking—but one thing I enjoyed especially about this one is that the characters are mostly older. They aren’t the young 20-somethings that usually are the stars in books like this, yet they are still quite relatable to me, a young 20-something.
One of Sylvie’s joys over the past ten-plus years has been watching her young charge, Rose, learn and grow. Rose’s mother died on their way to the new world, and when her father could no longer adequately care for her, she ended up in Sylvie’s care. As a single woman, Sylvie was more than thankful to have a little girl to love on and care for—and now, as Rose is growing older, she is looking forward to seeing her adopted daughter grow into an adult. However, before that can happen, Rose disappears. And as Sylvie starts a frantic search for her all over the city of Chicago, more questions than answers appear. Was she taken by force? Did she decide to move out of her own free will? Why would she want to—they hadn’t had the best of relationships there near the end, but surely that wasn’t enough for Rose to drop out of Sylvie’s life completely!
Even though I enjoyed the read, I was somewhat disappointed in Shadows of the White City. It didn’t feel quite as deep as some of Green’s other books that I’ve read. The story didn’t grip me like some do; I found myself setting it down even around 3/4 of the way through the book in favor of other forms of entertainment. But in saying that, I still enjoyed the historical setting and the way it was brought to life, the characters, the mysteries—there was a lot to like in this story. The Chicago World Fair was fascinating, when viewed through the eyes of a tour guide. I had no idea it was so big—or that it drew so many people! One scene near the end had me feeling almost claustrophobic!
One of the big themes in this book is learning that we belong—whether we grew up in a loving family, or in a dysfunctional family, or without family at all—we belong in Christ, and we can find our strength, acceptance, and stability there. I loved that reminder! And it was fun to see the characters learn more about that as the story went on.
If you love history and mysteries, with maybe a touch of romance on the side, I’d recommend this book. It’s a good read.
I was given a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: Several times, there are mentions of brothels—prologue, 10 (a sentence about how girls were kidnapped, prepared, and then sent to brothels), 12, and two women visit brothels to see if they could find someone in ch. 16. A man appreciates a woman’s appearance in ch. 2, a man tries to pull a woman too close in ch. 11, and a man tries to harm a girl in ch. 16.
“Swear” is used in ch. 2, 21, and 26. “Goodness” is used in ch. 5, 20, 21, 24, and 34. “In heaven’s name” or a variant is used in ch. 17, 18, and 31. “Hang it all” is used in ch. 21. There is lying in ch. 22 and throughout the book, a woman pretends to be someone she isn’t. “Land sakes” is used in ch. 22. “For pity’s sake” is used in ch. 23. “Devil” is used in ch. 23.
A man is punched in the nose in ch. 4, and there’s a brief tussle in ch. 26 with someone’s nose being crushed. A man is high on opium in ch. 29. A doctor says he performed a surgery to “make sure [a woman] never conceived again” in ch. 33. A woman has a flashback to when a building almost crumbled under her in ch. 34.
Unmarried people touch in ch. 12, 14, 17, 22, 25, 30, and 32, and in ch. 35, there is a kiss. There is more kissing in the epilogue and a mention of the bedroom. In ch. 28, there is some discussion about a young man and woman who spent nearly every day together for three weeks (thankfully, nothing beyond a kiss happened there), and in ch. 34, this is brought up again with the expectation that there was a baby on the way (also a mention of women’s things here), which, again, didn’t happen.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults