Review of Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green

 About the Book

The one thing Sylvie Townsend wants the most is what she feared she was never destined to have--a family of her own. But taking in Polish immigrant Rose Dabrowski to raise and love quells those fears--until seventeen-year-old Rose goes missing at the World's Fair, and Sylvie's world unravels. 

Brushed off by the authorities, Sylvie turns to her boarder, Kristof Bartok, for help. He is Rose's violin instructor and concertmaster for the Columbian Exposition Orchestra, and his language skills are vital to helping Sylvie navigate the immigrant communities where their search leads. 

From the glittering architecture of the fair to the dark houses of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, they're taken on a search that points to Rose's long-lost family. Is Sylvie willing to let the girl go? And as Kristof and Sylvie grow closer, can she reconcile her craving for control with her yearning to belong? 

Book Review

Admittedly, I have never read any of Jocelyn Green's novels. Shadows of the White City didn't even sound overly interesting to me, but it got quite a few raving reviews, so I decided to give it a shot. And I can honestly say that I am not disappointed. 

First of all, I love the setting for the story. I am from Chicago, but don't know much about its history. So, I was very excited that the book took place during the World's Fair. And how Green described it, I felt like I was really there, experiencing all the sights and sounds along with the characters. 

I also enjoyed the plotline of the novel itself. As an adopted child, Rose is questioning everything and uncertain as to where she fits in. Because of this, her and Sylvie's mother-daughter relationship is strained. 

When Rose disappears, however, Sylvie stops at nothing to find her daughter. 

I loved all the twists and unexpected turns in the story. Green does a great job of throwing her readers off track and keeping them guessing. I loved Sylvie's drive to find Rose, doing whatever it takes, refusing to believe her daughter just ran away from her. 

Kristof was also a great character. Honestly, I was more interested in his story than the main plot. The situation with his brother, Gregor, and the fact that he was dealing with emotional trauma made his storyline intriguing. 

The other side characters, such as Sylvie's sister, Meg, and her family, made the story that much more compelling and enjoyable. 

However, I probably would have connected with the characters more if I had read the first book in the series, Veiled in Smoke. But Shadows of the White City could be a stand-alone. Either way, though, I now want to read the first novel. 

Overall, I would recommend this novel. It's a gripping story filled with fantastic characters in a wonderful setting. 

I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley and this is my honest opinion. 


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