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Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green

Sylvie Townsend has a full and busy life, running the family bookstore in Chicago and raising her adopted daughter, Rose. When the World’s Fair comes to Chicago in 1893, Sylvie also takes on the role of tour guide. But seventeen-year-old Rose begins pushing Sylvie away and seeking answers about her background.

Violinist Kristof Bartok boards in Sylvie’s building and barely manages to conceal his affection for her. When Rose suddenly goes missing at the World’s Fair, independent Sylvie has no choice but to accept the help only Kristof can give her, with his quiet strength and knowledge of many languages.

As Sylvie and Kristof search for Rose among the many immigrant communities in Chicago – and in the city’s darker districts as well – their feelings deepen. But is Sylvie too set in her ways to make room for Kristof? And what if Rose simply ran away – can Sylvie let her choose her own path?

From the opulence of the World’s Fair to the grittiness of the city’s underworld, Jocelyn Green paints a fascinating picture of 1893 Chicago. Sylvie and Kristof are endearing characters, each seeking significance through the lives of their loved ones – and when those loved ones fail them or reject them, who will they be? Their romance is warm and gentle, and may I say how refreshing it is to read a romance between characters with streaks of gray in their hair! There’s a reason Jocelyn Green is one of my favorite authors – Shadows of the White City is historical fiction at its best!