2015 Book 326: SMOKE by Catherine McKenzie

Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
ISBN: 9781503947214 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781503945654 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781501277764 (audiobook)
ASIN: B00VOLHKJ8 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 20, 2015 
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town.

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation. 

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.

Elizabeth Martin thought her life would get better when she became an investigator with the local prosecuting attorney’s office. The slower pace, she presumed, would reduce stress and be more conducive to finally starting a family with her husband. Mindy Mitchell’s family has already been through the ringer when her infant daughter had a brush with death due to an undiagnosed hole in her heart. Now both Elizabeth and Mindy must deal with unforeseen life changes and major complications after a local fire wreaks havoc in their small town in the latest Catherine McKenzie novel, Smoke.

Elizabeth and Ben have been married for ten years but together a total of sixteen years. Elizabeth has worked as a fire spotter, fighting wildfires, and an arson investigator; Ben works as a teacher at the local private school. For the past few years, she and Ben have been trying to start a family. Elizabeth presumed it was the stress of her job that was a contributing factor to their inability to get pregnant, so she took the job at the local prosecuting attorney’s office. Regrettably, things haven’t worked out the way she expected and she’s asked Ben for a divorce. Then a local house burns down and a wildfire threatens their neighborhood and town. Will this investigation and fire be the final blow to their marriage or can it bring them closer together?

Mindy Mitchell’s family relocated to the Rockies after her daughter’s brush with death. Her daughter Carrie is now a healthy thirteen-year-old focused on ballet. Mindy’s son, Angus, is no longer the talkative and energetic boy she once knew. He’s quiet and secretive and Mindy fears the worse. After a local house fire, she’s sure her son is hiding something from her but isn’t sure she really wants to know the truth.

Smoke is another amazing story by Ms. McKenzie. Both Elizabeth and Mindy, along with their families, are at crossroads in their lives. Elizabeth is investigating the fire and wants nothing more than to save her home and possibly her marriage. Mindy is dealing with bullying. She knows firsthand the harmful effects of bullying in her own dealings with the town’s affluent popular mothers. Now, she realizes that her son is dealing with bullying at the hands of the children of those bullying mothers. Elizabeth and Mindy are forced to face the real problems in their lives rather than running away from them. Ms. McKenzie provides characters that are realistic and action that is wholly plausible. Needless to say, there’s a lot more going on in this story than I’ve mentioned (read it to find out for yourself). I found Smoke to be a fast-paced and engrossing read about friendship, love, loss, second chances, secrets, privilege, and bullying (without being preachy in tone). If you’ve read books by Ms. McKenzie in the past you’ll want to add Smoke to your TBR list. If you’ve never read anything by Ms. McKenzie and enjoy fiction about friends and family, then Smoke may be the perfect place to start (trust me, after reading it you’ll want to go back and read her other books).

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Author: thebookdivasreads

I'm a reader, an avid reader, or perhaps a rabid reader (at least according to my family). I enjoy reading from a variety of different genres but particularly enjoy fiction, mystery, suspense, thrillers, ChickLit, romance and classics. I also enjoy reading about numerous non-fiction subjects including aromatherapy, comparative religions, herbalism, naturopathic medicine, and tea.

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