After The Fog – Kathleen Shoop

MONDAY 24th SEPTEMBER 2012

In the wee small hours of last night I finished the final 10% of Kathleen Shoop’s After The Fog. I have read this as part of the Best Indie Book Festival; when I was delighted to have been given the opportunity to do an Author Interview with her – featured on my blog Friday 14th Sept.

Over the last sixteen months, I have been really expanding my reading horizons; absorbing books from all genres and Author’s; in particularly Indie Authors.

This was the perfect occasion as I have discovered that I love reading books from different eras, with the backdrop set in the 1940’s in Donora, Pennsylvania surrounding the ‘killing smog’.

The book had a wonderful balance of fact and fiction; following Nurse Rose Pavlesic struggle to care for her patients and balancing it with her family life. It’s nice to see that women had the same guilty balance then as they do now; working hard whilst trying to raise the family the best they could. Sometimes society seems to forget this and that it is the modern woman who invented this. It’s comforting to see that women have been strong characters for longer than what we think.

I loved how Rose’s character was strong and bold; I really felt for her at the beginning of the book and almost experienced her exhaustion that emulates from the story. It is contrasted wonderfully with the character of Sara Clara, whose laziness drives you to irritation in comparison to Rose’s whirlwind life.

There was some lovely imagery throughout the book; even little details conjured up the biggest pictures. One of my favourite’s was the description of Unk recycling the baby jar’s – screwing the lids into the wood on the walls and filling the jars with construction items, then screwing these back into the lids. I could just picture this wall dotted with baby jars containing nuts and bolts.

I almost felt like I was choking along with the residents of Donora as the smoke from the zinc mills gets freakishly trapped by the weather. Another beautiful piece of imagery is the smoke not rising properly and visibly hitting a ‘wall’ in the sky that seems to push its poisonous gases back down to earth. That in itself has me gasping for breath.

Another description I loved was the coal seam trapped inside earth, part of the world but not able to contribute to it. I won’t explain this any further as it may give part of the story away but I thought that was a perfect way to sum that particular scenario up.

As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent why Rose is so controlling and you feel her highs and lows; with all the secrets and lies from within her family colliding together in the height of the ‘killing smog’.

I would recommend this as not only does it have a good story to it, it is also interesting to learn about the ‘killing smog’ of Donora. It is written in such a way that it does not bog you down with facts, they are beautifully woven into the storyline.

You can buy After The Fog in Paperback or download to Kindle here.

Follow Kathleen Shoop on Twitter @KathieShoop.

Love Missuswolf xxx