Geralyn Heslau Macgrady, winner of the Soon to Be Famous (TM) Illinois Author Project, was a co-panelist with me and some other authors/publishers at the Galena (IL) Lit Fest in January 2016. Due to my love of historical fiction and Chicago, I purchased Geralyn’s novel, Lines, set in 1871 prior, during, and after the great fire.
Lines is a story of love, loss, and how humans often are required to surrender to unforeseen circumstances, particularly in the last quarter of the 19th century, where family obligations were different, especially the tradition of marrying your brother’s widow. The main character, Livia Haa, whose family works in the tobacco business, tries to find her own way and place in the world but is forced to choose a path she hadn’t foreseen because of the great fire tragedy. A sinister con man with misplaced vengeful urges, suspense, and diverging loyalties also play a part in the plot.
I enjoyed the story and was able to feel for Livia and those for whom she cared. It was an easy read and put me in Chicago in 1871. I read this book quickly, so on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it an eight.