Official Review: Chicago 1871 by James E. Merl

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kandscreeley
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Official Review: Chicago 1871 by James E. Merl

Post by kandscreeley » 07 Aug 2018, 17:52

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Chicago 1871" by James E. Merl.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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John Kirk just landed a job as a career firefighter in California after fighting wildfires. At his first real fire, he's assigned to take water to the heart of it. He crawls inside the house in the year 2018; when he crawls out, it's 1871.

John winds up in Chicago in 1871 before the Great Chicago Fire. The boys of Engine Company 8 adopt him thinking he has amnesia from a bump on the head as he's claiming some wild things. He knows so much about the fires to come that he wants to help prevent them from happening. But how did he get to 1871? Will anyone believe that he is from the future? Can he risk changing the timeline?

I hope that I didn't lose you at time travel. I know that it's an automatic turnoff to some, but this is so much more than science fiction. It's also a drama; it's a book about people and their lives. This is a book about the life of John Kirk and how he learns to fit in in 1871. This is a book about the people he meets - his fellow firefighters who use astonishingly modern methods to go about putting out these fires without the protection that technology affords us today. There's even just a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. The characters are so well drawn that you will swear you know them. You'll be sad that you are no longer part of their lives when the book ends.

The time travel aspect was not overly scientific which I appreciated. So many times with time travel stories, my head spins from trying to figure out paradoxes, ripples and alternates. Towards the end, the author goes into more detail but only what is necessary to the plot and to satisfy curiosity. Speaking of the ending, all I can say is that it's satisfying. I was wondering how Mr. Merl was going to incorporate the past and present, but he does a beautiful job. I was impressed.

In addition, this is a historical fiction. I learned about firefighting methods in the 1800s. I learned that the Great Chicago Fire started in the O'Leary's barn. I learned that Chicago was going through a dry spell at the time, but, as the fire started to die out, it began to rain. I don't want to spoil it all for you, but I learned a great many things from reading this story. And, I was not a reluctant learner. Mr. Merl interspersed the historical facts in with great characters and a compelling plot that just makes you want to keep coming back for more.

If there is anything to criticize, it would be that the beginning is a bit slower than I would like. There are a few terms and a bit more detail about firefighting than I was comfortable with. But, just as my eyes were beginning to glaze over, the author threw me for a loop; from that point on, I was hooked.

I don't know if you can tell, but I absolutely loved Chicago 1871 by James E. Merl. There was action with Engine Company 8 fighting fires. There was some romance. There was mystery and science fiction. Is Mr. Kirk going to change the future? Will John ever get back home? Will his timeline be altered? There was a fabulous plot. And there were great characters with which I fell in love. I emphatically give this story 4 out of 4 stars. Perhaps those that don't enjoy novels placed in the past would not appreciate this book. However, for everyone else, I highly recommend you pick this story up. I can't wait to see what else the author comes up with.

******
Chicago 1871
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Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 09 Aug 2018, 02:04

Through your intriguing review, the book must be interesting. I even like the fact that it holds the glimpse of romance and action; my favourite genres. I will add on my to read list.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 09 Aug 2018, 02:39

I do appreciate that there is less science or tech involved in this read. The use of romance thrown in is good in a way to create excitement on the reader's journey through this read. Thank you for your review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 09 Aug 2018, 07:57

Rosemary Khathibe wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 02:04
Through your intriguing review, the book must be interesting. I even like the fact that it holds the glimpse of romance and action; my favourite genres. I will add on my to read list.
I started off thinking that this might not be the best book for me, but I quickly fell in love! Thanks for the comment.
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Post by kandscreeley » 09 Aug 2018, 07:58

Sahani Nimandra wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 02:39
I do appreciate that there is less science or tech involved in this read. The use of romance thrown in is good in a way to create excitement on the reader's journey through this read. Thank you for your review!
I appreciated that too. Time travel can make my head spin, but this was done in a very nice way!
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 09 Aug 2018, 08:48

kandscreeley wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 07:58
Sahani Nimandra wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 02:39
I do appreciate that there is less science or tech involved in this read. The use of romance thrown in is good in a way to create excitement on the reader's journey through this read. Thank you for your review!
I appreciated that too. Time travel can make my head spin, but this was done in a very nice way!
I too don't appreciate much time travel reads either, but I can see that this read was executed well through your review!
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are :techie-studyingbrown: - Mason Cooley

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Post by Cecilia_L » 09 Aug 2018, 15:20

What a great review! I don't usually prefer sci-fi but this plot really appeals to me. Less science and tech is also a plus. Thanks for the recommendation!

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Post by kandscreeley » 09 Aug 2018, 15:33

Cecilia_L wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 15:20
What a great review! I don't usually prefer sci-fi but this plot really appeals to me. Less science and tech is also a plus. Thanks for the recommendation!
It was just a really good all around book! Thanks for commenting.
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Post by teacherjh » 09 Aug 2018, 20:55

I considered reviewing this one. It sounds like a great book. I love well-developed characters and time travel.

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Post by kandscreeley » 10 Aug 2018, 07:53

teacherjh wrote:
09 Aug 2018, 20:55
I considered reviewing this one. It sounds like a great book. I love well-developed characters and time travel.
Now you're probably disappointed you didn't! It really was wonderful, and I loved being able to learn about a bit of history in a fun way. Thanks!
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Post by LV2R » 10 Aug 2018, 08:58

Thanks for your review. I was wondering about this book. Now I know. It sounds interesting to travel back in time and to learn about firefighting techniques. It is refreshing to hear about a good book. Your review makes me want to read this one.

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Post by kandscreeley » 10 Aug 2018, 09:13

LV2R wrote:
10 Aug 2018, 08:58
Thanks for your review. I was wondering about this book. Now I know. It sounds interesting to travel back in time and to learn about firefighting techniques. It is refreshing to hear about a good book. Your review makes me want to read this one.
Thanks! It really was enjoyable. I highly recommend it!
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Post by Amy+++ » 12 Aug 2018, 11:28

Sounds like you really enjoyed the book. I read a book a while back that was somewhat similar to what happens in this one. It wasn't about time travel per say, but it was good and this book sounds good too. Being able to differentiate between two different periods is a must. It is so easy to lose a reader when the difference between two time periods is not spelled out properly. This book seems to fit that bill and I can't wait to read it. Thank you for the great, and honest review.

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Post by kandscreeley » 12 Aug 2018, 17:53

Amy+++ wrote:
12 Aug 2018, 11:28
Sounds like you really enjoyed the book. I read a book a while back that was somewhat similar to what happens in this one. It wasn't about time travel per say, but it was good and this book sounds good too. Being able to differentiate between two different periods is a must. It is so easy to lose a reader when the difference between two time periods is not spelled out properly. This book seems to fit that bill and I can't wait to read it. Thank you for the great, and honest review.
Thank you! I really did enjoy it more than I thought to begin with. It was nice, too, to learn about the 1870s.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 13 Aug 2018, 06:00

I read "Yesterday" that also featured the Great Chicago Fire; I liked learning about that historical event. Now this book is from the point of view of the firefighters. It must be "one hell of a read" to get you to gush like that. So many good books, so little time!

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