Thursday, May 24, 2012

After The Fog by Kathleen Shoop

Genre: General Fiction
Publication Date: 8th May 2012
Pages: 412
Book Source: BookSparks PR & NetGalley

Synopsis: The sins of the mother... In the steel mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania, site of the infamous 1948 "killing smog," headstrong nurse Rose Pavlesic tends to her family and neighbors. Controlling and demanding, she's created a life that reflects everything she missed growing up as an orphan. She's even managed to keep her painful secrets hidden from her loving husband, dutiful children, and large extended family.When a stagnant weather pattern traps poisonous mill gasses in the valley, neighbors grow sicker and Rose's nursing obligations thrust her into conflict she never could have fathomed. Consequences from her past collide with her present life, making her once clear decisions as gray as the suffocating smog. As pressure mounts, Rose finds she's not the only one harboring lies. When the deadly fog finally clears, the loss of trust and faith leaves the Pavlesic family-and the whole town-splintered and shocked. With her new perspective, can Rose finally forgive herself and let her family's healing begin?

My Thoughts: 
I was eager to read After the Fog after Kathleen Shoop's debut novel The Last Letter moved me to tears. 

Set in the steel and zinc mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania this fictional story is based on a real event, the "Donora Death Fog" of 1948. Where mill polution, greed, ignorance and nature combine with tragic consequences. 

Once again Kathleen Shoop provides gritty detail of harsh conditions and bitter realities,  struggling families and realistically flawed characters. Rose Pavlesic is a community health nurse, complex, strong, controlling and despite her selfless profession she's not particularly likeable. Readers are privy to Rose's struggle regarding her family, her faith, her past, as her personal life unravels so does the disaster in Donora. 

Taken at noon on October 29, 1948 ~ source

I knew nothing about this event which is said to be America's worst air pollution disaster.  Shoop does a great job conveying how toxic and deadly the environmental conditions were, and as difficult as it is to comprehend it's even more shocking to realise how recently it occurred. But on a positive note the deadly smog of Donora led to Clean Air Legislation being implemented.

After the Fog was certainly an interesting read, I enjoyed it but it didn't have the harrowing 'heartache-y' quality of The Last Letter.

Visit Kathleen Shoop's website to find out more about this author and her work


  1. This does sounds really good!! Thanks for the great review... adding this to my list!!!

    1. Yay Julie, always good to learn a bit more about real events in history :)

  2. And I have never heard of it at all. Oh people

    1. I did a little extra reading B, apparently the mills wanted it covered up, 20 people died and thousands sick :(

  3. Very interesting - I hadn't heard of it either, but my family is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and worked in their factories - so I enjoy reading about the factories and way of life there (even if much of it is quite sad, it connects me with my roots). Thanks for pointing this one out and it is going on my TBR!


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