Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (1)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (2)
- North Carolina (3)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (8)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (2)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

22 / 100 books. 22% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Thursday, April 21, 2022

Forgotten American Maritime Disaster Brought to Vivid, Moving Life in New Historical Novel

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As a treat for their employees—many of whom were immigrants with little money for frivolities—Chicago's Western Electric Company planned an elaborate lake excursion to take place on July 24, 1915. Four passenger steamers were chartered to carry people down the Chicago River from Cicero, Illinois, to Michigan City, Indiana, where the company would provide an afternoon of food and fun. Invitees were bubbling over with excitement about the prospect of enjoying a day off picknicking with their families. The festival-like atmosphere soon turned to horror, however, when the overpacked S.S. Eastland began listing to port. In less than 15 minutes, the vessel rolled, trapping hundreds of people inside the doomed ship. Although the boat was still attached to the dock, resting in shallow water, and was equipped with plenty of lifeboats, 848 passengers and crew members died in the disaster.

Drawn by the Current, the final novel in Jocelyn Green's Windy City Saga trilogy, revolves around this forgotten tragedy. Our (fictional) heroine is Olive Pierce, a 29-year-old insurance agent, who is excited when she unexpectedly receives two tickets to attend the outing. She and her best friend, Claire Sterling, board the S.S. Eastland looking forward to a lovely day. When the boat rolls, chaos ensues, and it's only belatedly that Olive realizes Claire is not among the survivors. To assuage the grief and horror resulting from her experience on the Eastland, the insurance agent throws herself into her work, battling red tape to help those affected by the disaster. When she encounters resistance to her efforts, Olive enlists the help of a handsome newspaper photographer. As the two work together, secrets are revealed that could put everything Olive's working for at risk. Can she find justice for those who deserve it most? Will she ever be able to put her own nightmares behind her?

I've enjoyed all the books in the Windy City Saga, but Drawn By the Current is my favorite. Why? For starters, the story revolves around a historical event I had never heard of, which made the story extra interesting for me. Green brings all the emotions that surrounded the S.S. Eastland disaster to vivid life, capturing the excitement of the boarding passengers as well as the horror, fear, and sorrow that soon followed. It's easy to FEEL it all thanks to Green's skilled storytelling. Then there are the warm, sympathetic characters. Olive, especially, is an admirable heroine. She's compassionate, determined, selfless, and ambitious. Rooting for her and her friends is a no-brainer. Plot-wise, Drawn By the Current offers a compelling story that offers a little bit of everything—mystery, romance, action, and suspense. It kept me thoroughly engrossed throughout. Also, although this is a Christian novel, it never gets preachy or heavy-handed. The book deals with several tough issues, but it remains hopeful and uplifting throughout. All of these elements combined beautifully for me, making Drawn By the Current a gripping, moving read. Bonus: it's clean, faith-promoting, and well-written. What more could I want? 

(Readalikes: Reminds me a lot of Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan as well as the previous Windy City Saga books, Veiled in Smoke and Shadows of the White City)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Drawn By the Current from the generous folks at Bethany House via those at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!


  1. I’d never heard of this tragedy before. Those poor people!

    This sure sounds like a good read. Good job on your review.

    1. Me neither, which is crazy! It was a horrible disaster and it seems to have been forgotten by the general American public. So sad.

  2. This sounds amazing, adding it to my to read shelf on Goodreads.

    1. The whole series is good. I've enjoyed it. This is the best book, though. It's absorbing.

  3. Wow...848 passengers & crew died while the boat was still tied up to the dock? That's crazy!

    1. Right? It's crazy. The boat flipped so quickly that people were totally thrown off guard. Some got trapped inside the boat, others were crushed by heavy furniture, and some even drowned because things that people onboard or onshore threw to them as flotation devices knocked them out or pushed them underwater. So crazy.

  4. How sad. I've never heard of this disaster. I think drowning and burning to death would be the two worst ways to die.

    1. For sure. And the fact that these people died in shallow water near the shore makes it all the more horrifying.

  5. Wonderful review, Susan. I read the first book in this trilogy and want to get back to it. I had never heard of this tragedy which makes it all the more fascinating. I love learning about events from the past.

    1. It's a good trilogy. It didn't knock my socks off or anything, but I enjoyed it and, like I said in my review, this book was my favorite of them all. I like books that are interesting, uplifting, and entertaining and this series fit the bill for me.

  6. I never heard of this event nor the Callahan book event. It's so frightening to think these happened and all those people slowly drowned.
    I don't care if a book is labeled Christian fiction or not-- I go by the story, not the genre. As long as the message is not hitting me over the head--and this is regarding any book with any religious message--I'm fine, and I would read this trilogy.

    1. Same here. It's so odd that I've never heard a word about either of those disasters. Everybody knows about Titanic and Lusitania, but these tragedies seems to have been forgotten. I'm glad these authors chose to write about these events so that I could learn about them and honor the poor souls who died because of them.

      I'm the same way about religious fiction. I'm a religious person, so that element doesn't bother me at all—unless it's way overdone. I like inspirational/uplifting, but I don't like preachy/cheesy/holier-than-thou. I enjoy depictions of everyday religion in the lives of ordinary people. It resonates with me. And, you're right—story trumps all. If a book tells a good story, I'm going to read it, no matter the genre!

  7. I love the colors on the cover. Wow that's so sad but the book looks really great.

    Ash @ Essentially Ash

  8. Wow, this sounds like a horrific disaster, and (like everyone else who's commented) I had no idea that it happened! Thanks for the review.

  9. This is why I enjoy Historical Fiction. I've never heard of this tragedy but I can learn about it through a story. Lovely review, Susan!

  10. I had never heard of this but it sounds like a fantastic and heartbreaking read. I have the Patti Callahan book on my TBR and need to add this one.


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive