After the Fog

After the Fog

by Kathleen Shoop


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A love story wrapped in historical drama...In the steel town of Donora, Pennsylvania, site of the infamous 1948 "killing smog," headstrong nurse Rose Pavlesic tends to her family and neighbors. Efficient and precise, she's created a life that reflects everything she missed growing up as an orphan. She's even managed to keep her painful secrets hidden from the love of her life, Henry, her dutiful children, and large extended family. When a stagnant weather pattern traps poisonous mill gasses in the valley, neighbors grow sicker and Rose's nursing obligations thrust her into conflict she never could have fathomed. Consequences from her past collide with her present life, making her once clear decisions as gray as the suffocating smog. As pressure mounts, Rose finds she's not the only one harboring lies. When the deadly fog finally clears, the loss of trust and faith leaves the Pavlesic family-and the whole town-splintered and shocked. With her new perspective, can Rose finally forgive herself and let her family's healing begin? Will love be enough?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469935706
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 03/07/2012
Series: Donora Story Collection , #1
Pages: 418
Sales rank: 781,666
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

After the Fog is the second novel by bestselling Kindle author Kathleen Shoop. Her debut novel, The Last Letter, garnered multiple awards in 2011. A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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After the Fog 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
autumnbluesreviews More than 1 year ago
What a creepy, realistic read. I just couldn’t put After the Fog down once I started reading it. This novel is based on a real event that happened in Donora, Pennsylvania in 1948. Having been raised in the steel town of Bethlehem, PA. and having a father who worked for years in a pipe foundry, I was immediately intrigued by this story. I was surprised that I had never heard of the town of Donora and had never heard this event mentioned. Although the characters are fictional, the actual event which took place in October of 1948, killed at least 70 people and sickened thousands. In After the Fog the main character, Rose Pavlesic, juggles family life with working outside the home as a community nurse. The story centers around her family and their secrets. Rose has shared her past with her husband and family, at least the part about being raised in an orphanage. The rest she has kept to herself, just like she has also kept it all together, put herself through nursing school, married, and raised a beautiful gifted family. Dwelling on her own past, Rose is determined to make sure her children attend college and get out of Donora for good. But now that her children are grown they have decided that what Rose wants is not what they want and suddenly the world of Rose begins to fall apart. As the story follows Rose throughout her daily routine, the fog within the town builds and thickens like no other time in her lifetime. This isn’t just ordinary, everyday foggy weather, and although fog from the zinc and mill factory has loomed in the distance for years, this fog is different. As the fog gets thicker and darker the plot also thickens and soon Rose’s complete family has turned against her. While her husband Henry keeps his own share of secrets, creating a wider rift in their relationship, she also has to deal with her brother-in-law Buzzy gambling, and his wife’s lazy attitude. Soon the past catches up with Rose and she has no other choice but to face the truth. I loved Rose’s character, her strength and determination and I could so relate in her wanting to protect her children the way she did. Rose is a hard-working wife and mother who also cares deeply about her community. This story shows the struggle and balancing act of a woman in that era who worked outside the home while balancing her role as a wife and mother. Donora, Pennsylvania was one of many steel and mill towns in America where mostly immigrants raised their families amongst the fog and smog without thinking much of it. One fact the author Shoop incorporated into the theme, was how the residents neither wanted the government involved, nor did they want to talk about, or report the event for fear the mills would close and the families would be without income. While reading this book it was creepy to picture Rose stumbling about the town trying to make her way around, as nobody could even see an arm’s length in front of them. I found it thought-provoking and it led me to wonder how people could live their lives like this in the first place. Would this be acceptable today? Surely not, although not much information was recorded about the actual residents.
retromom More than 1 year ago
Great mix of historical facts and fiction! When I was first approached to review this book, I had never heard of the "killing smog" of Donora. I love learning about historical events so I knew this was probably going to be a very interesting book for me. Before I even received the book in the mail, I was looking up Donora and the horrible smog that enveloped the town. It's both shocking and interesting. Once I received the book and started reading, I was hooked! After the Fog tells the story of Rose and her family. Rose was raised in an orphanage and has struggled to get to where she is today. She has a husband and two teenage children and she is the community nurse. She juggles being a homemaker while serving the community as the townspeople. In the meantime, the killing smog of 1948 is covering the town making people sick without them even realizing what is happening to them. As Rose tends to the townspeople while trying to secure funding for the Community Nursing Program, her past comes back to haunt her. Rose is challenged in ways she never imagined. I found Rose to be an amazingly strong woman even though I found her difficult to like at times. At times I found her cold. Other times I felt sorry for her. I did find myself hoping all would turn out well for Rose and her family. I found myself reading After the Fog into the wee hours hours of the morning, just to find out how Rose's story would end. While reading this book, you can tell that Kathleen Shoop has done much research on Donora and it's killing smog. My hats off to her for writing a great story set in such a horrible, historical event. It made for a great setting for the story. I felt as though I had gone back in time and was walking the smoggy streets of Donora alongside Rose. I got an eerie feeling reading the book which is how I imagined the people of Donora felt at the time. The author nailed the setting perfectly! I really enjoyed this book and think it would make for a great and interesting book club selection. I have not yet read Kathleen's debt novel, The Last Letter but it is going on my wish list. She is an author I will be keeping an eye on in the future.
52chickadees More than 1 year ago
In the 1940’s, Donora, Pa., once named the ”Arsenal of Democracy”, was the home to steel, wire and zinc mills, and in 1948 was the site of one of the worst environmental disasters this country has ever witnessed. It was called “The Killing Fog”, as it claimed approx. 90 lives and affected the health and well-being of around 7000 residents. Many illnesses were found linked to the inversion and the deadly fog was one that led to the enactment of the “Clean Air Act” in 1955. Woven into the smog and chaos is the Pavlesic Family. Stubborn, headstrong, Community Nurse; Rose, thought she had seen everything, (including the tragic stillbirth that also took mother, Isabella Greshecky’s life) until the fog/smog placed a sickening lid on the industrial community that fateful week in cold Oct.1948. She assisted Dr. Bonaroti, who was stretched as thin as vanity throughout the town as well as trying to care for mill worker husband; Henry, 17 yr. old twins Johnny and Magdelena and elderly, often times suffering from Alzheimer’s , “Unc” and quirky, family treasurer, “Auntie Anna”. As if her plate wasn’t full enough, Rose and Henry had made a home and promise to care for Henry’s drunken/gambling addict brother, Buzzy, his ditzy, lazy, Southern belle wife, Sara Clara and their young son, Leo. With trying to pinch every penny so there would be enough for both twins’ college educations and, perhaps a dream house for Rose and Henry, came many trials and tribulations and Rose working nights as well as days. In addition to her regular duties, she has to prove her worth as a Community Nurse so the “Community Chest” will loosen up it’s purse strings and fund the much needed clinic. Will haughty Mrs. Sebastian go along with this? Or put up road blocks, terminating Rose’s position? Overworked and overwrought, the endless string of crisis’s take their toll on the ordinarily chaotic but close-knit family. Gambling debts, lies, deceit, withheld knowledge, hurt, shame, growing anger and mistrust leave sooty tracks all over their lives. Rose has to come to grips with a painful fact she has never told anyone—not even the Parish Priest. But, can she, without wrecking the family she so dearly loves? She finds how it feels to lose herself and that sometimes we have to go back five steps before we can take one step forward. Ms. Shoop has written about a struggling family I’d like to read more about. She has artfully painted them into a disastrous situation of monstrous proportions. Her colorful characters and detailed descriptions pull you onto the coal lined streets of Donora, holding your breath as the fog gets heavier and grainier, turning page after page, waiting for it to clear and a miracle for all concerned. Bravo Ms. Shoop! I’ll be waiting for your next title and I encourage readers to place this on their “To Be Read” list. Nancy Narma
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
One woman's life makes a powerful metaphor A novel filled with believable characters set in well-researched time and location, with such well-drawn historical insights it leaves the reader trembling for today, Kathleen Shoop’s After the Fog is hard to put down, fiercely absorbing, and furiously real. The conflict of jobs vs. environment, and financial vs. human concerns is vividly portrayed through the lives of a multi-generational family in Donora PA just after the Second World War. Unions have at least made living conditions less fatal for the workers and their families, but the idea that the air we breathe can kill us is still new, and a doctor campaigning for clean air meets obstruction from local workers who need the jobs as well as from rich mill-owners. I’d read of this kind of situation in poverty-stricken Eastern European countries. To find it in the recent history of the US was distinctly disturbing and scary, but the author has researched her background well and tells a convincing tale with great authority. The protagonist, Rose, is a wonderfully complex character, living out her life and often saving lives, hiding the issues of her past as surely as the Donora fog hides suffering, and the need for money hides the importance of a healthy environment. Not always likeable, she’s very believable, a wounded character who wants to save everyone but can’t see through the fog to her own family’s needs. As the Donora fog descends, the fog over Rose’s life begins to lift. A curious coincidence leads her to re-examine the past. Motivations become clearer, but clarity doesn’t heal, any more than the lifting of the fog will release the citizens from its sickness. Lies and half-truths form a fog of their own in this tale, and healing is hard work. But there is light at the end of the fog, and the blend of personal lessons with environmental horrors is nicely unlabored in this long but absorbing novel. Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the World Literary Café in exchange for my honest review.
Irishgypsy88 More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great book. I had no idea about the historic event, and I'm originally from Pennsylvania (although not the western part). It was a great plot device, using a real event to carry along fictional characters. The people in the story are very real, with both flaws and strengths. The main character of Rose has overcome much in her life and has a very typical approach for an adult who had little control of her life as a child: she wants to control all the people around her and direct their lives. She means well, and is a caring person and excellent nurse, but distances herself in a clinical fashion from both her patients and her family. In this way, she tries to protect herself from a hurt that she knows from her childhood losses, which are considerable. Her family still loves her though, despite these things, and her story is a testament to growth and perseverance for those willing to accept their circumstances. The religious undertone, both positive and negative, threads throughout but is not overwhelming. Rose's religion defines her in a way, and gives her strength when she most needs it, even if she stubbornly tries to go it alone -- her faith is still there when she comes back. The only problem I had with it was jumping from one perspective to another. The voice telling the story goes from Sara Clara, Rose's sister-in-law, to Rose, to her husband, Henry, etc. It took me a few sentences each time the shift occurred to establish who was doing the talking, although 85% of the book it is Rose herself. It's good to hear the other perspectives, although perhaps doing them in the third person as opposed to the first (which should have been reserved just for Rose) might have alleviated the jarring and confusion. I still would strongly recommend this book. The author also provides resource notes for anyone wanting to know more about the fog event in Donora in October of 1948. An intriguing read, to be sure.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Quite the depressing read, that took quite a few pages, or a lot, to get to the heart of the story. There were days upon days of our main character Rose complaining about life and her family and I just didn't see the book going anywhere at all. There was little set up for the town before the smog rolled in and would have liked more of an emphasis on how this city was going to be impacted by the disaster. I was intrigued that this book was going to be centered around a disaster that affects the town, but it took way to long for the disaster to happen. The build up of the Rose's personal turmoil overshadowed the main star that I believed to be was the smog and the affect of it on this town. The ending brought closure, but it took too much to get to the heart of the story. I appreciated where the story ended.
Faithfulgirl4 More than 1 year ago
Every May 6 is National Nurse's Day (Teacher's Day too!) with the following week celebrating these two great professions (of which I'm a part of both!). Kathleen Shoop has written her sophomore novel about Rose Pavlesic, a community health nurse working in Donora, Pennsylvania in the 1940's. The steel mills are what keeps Donora running and, due to the economy, Rose wonders what will keep her running monetarily. There is so much more work to do than there are medical professionals who can care for the citizens of Donora. When a new mill Superintendent moves to town, many changes begin to take place. Could he and his wife possibly fund the clinic that Rose has dreamed of all these years? I must admit, I had a bit of difficulty getting into this story but once I did, it became hard to put it down. I found this to be a very enjoyable book but I want to explain why I gave it the rating that I did. First of all, historical fiction is my favorite genre of books to read. Ms. Shoop kept true to the historical accuracy of the 1940's. I did take some offense at the strong language and suggestive scenes (a couple of them became borderline erotic). I guess that took me a bit by surprise and has caused a slightly lower rating from me than I would have otherwise given. Rose's character is very dynamic. She is a true Type A personality nurse. She puts her clients first and foremost, but at the expense of her family. How many of us in the field have done this to ourselves and our families? Nursing professionals truly do have a calling to do what they love but often times we fail to care for ourselves, thus finding it necessary to become a patient. I love how Ms. Shoop "got this" and was able to incorporate it into Rose's character.
dedaDL More than 1 year ago
After the Fog was a very good read.  The book made me really think about me and my life. Rose works to care for everyone and them totally has no clue what is happening around her. Her family is drifting away and she does not even see it. A really good story about a woman devoted to caring for everyone while being unable to let go of her past.
barry2B More than 1 year ago
A good fiction novel centered around the tragedy at Donora in 1948. The characters were believable and of course the historical fact were accurate. This was my first Kathleen Shoop book, but I would definitely read another one.
Running-Water More than 1 year ago
A host of interesting characters with a plot based on historical events. Thought-provoking about human growth both spiritually and emotionally. Well-written.
ClaireBear74 More than 1 year ago
Kathleen Shoop does a fabulous job of painting the perfect portrait of life in a rural 1940’s mill town, complete with the dirt and grime tracked in by the hardworking husbands. I really felt like I was there and could smell and taste the deadly smog as is sickened the town, a testament to the author’s vivid description skills. I was genuinely afraid of what was going to happen next, and felt the genuine fear and threat that the town faced. One thing I have to wonder is why more people didn’t evacuate to cleaner places? Some people did, but it didn’t seem like very many. That seems kinda crazy to me. Also I thought Rose seemed unnecessarily tough and almost unrelatable at times. And the sister in law Sara Clara drove me nuts. But as we learned more about Rose I felt myself softening up a bit, although I think she could’ve handled herself a bit better with her daughter. That’s just my opinion.
SamRyan More than 1 year ago
8. In the town of Donora, Penn, there are three mills: the steel mill, the wire mile, and the zinc mill. Life in the town revolves around the people who work there and owe their livelihood to the grueling jobs. Rose is a nurse who is married with children and she is tough and no-nonsense. And she has a secret…a big one. Suddenly, disaster rolls in in the form of a dense fog that traps all the mill’s poisonous chemicals in the air and make people sick, and in some cases, they die. But that is not all – Rose also is forced to face a personal disaster when her past comes back to haunt her in a big way. This book kept me interested all the way through, except there were some times that it felt too slow and I wished something more exciting would happen. Towards the end there was a lot of drama, but some parts of the first half dragged on too long. Still very good.
KayleeeKS More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the combination of having nonfiction combined with fiction. It made the story that much more interesting knowing that it was based around real events, even if the people and the conversations were imagined. The author paints a very detailed and descriptive picture of a town whose identity and heartbeat is driven by the mills…the same mills that produce the toxic gas that threatens the populations existence. As the town nurse, Rose is thrust into action to help the sick and needy, while her own world starts falling apart around her. I thought the writing was excellent and very clear. I love how immersed in the story I was from the start. There were many riveting scenes that had me on the edge of my seat, and I was satisfied by the ending…it felt natural, not forced. This isn’t a happy-go-lucky book…its heavy and intense, filled with interpersonal drama and tragedy. But it is one of those books that stays with you long after you are done, and I for one am very happy to have read it. I’ll definitely be looking for more of this author’s works, as I found her writing style to be supremely engaging and easy to read.
MWilliamsMW More than 1 year ago
I really liked the way that this story progressed…Author Kathleen Shoop could have just as easily made this only about the sick and dying patients the nurse tended to while the fog trapped and poisoned the town. But she interwove several complex and moving storylines along with the horror of the poison fog. In a way, the “fog” covering the town and poisoning it was a metaphor for the fog Rose lives in with her secrets, that are slowly poisoning her. I admit I didn’t really like Rose at first, but she grew on me as the book progressed. Still, I didn’t like how she was with Magdelena, even though we know she has her reasons. In my opinion I’d think she would have been more compassionate, considering. But I also like characters who are flawed, and this made her seem more real, even if I didn’t always agree with her words or her choices.
SDecker More than 1 year ago
I was totally unaware of this disaster in our nation’s history prior to reading “After the Fog.” Immediately I did more research, stunned to find out that people really died and got sick from this polluted air. You’d think with all the talk of the environment and global warming that this episode could be used as a real learning experience. But I digress. As fascinating as the subject of environmental impact is to me, I am also equally fascinated by relationships, and nothing tickles my fancy more than deep dark secrets making their way to the surface. When all is said and done, Rose must face her life “after the fog”, literally and metaphorically. A dynamic read, one that covers many facets of life, regardless of the time period.
JesseThomas More than 1 year ago
It was the year 1948 in Donora, Pennsylvania and we meet Nurse Rose Pavlesic. I was totally hooked from the first chapter where we are introduced to the gritty, sometimes tragic world that Nurse Rose lives in, a harbinger for far more disastrous events in the future than the sad opening. Shoop’s writing is strong, engaging, and kept me turning the pages, eager to see what would happen. Although there was the plot line revolving around the fog that was sickening the people, the real strength of the story lies in the interpersonal relationships Ms. Shoop created with the many characters in the novel. This is definitely more of a character-driven story as opposed to plot-driven…no high action, and it’s not fast-paced. But it is more literary and in-depth, a book you savor, and not race through and very interesting for its historical aspect alone.
BellaReadz More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one sitting! It was really that good! Kathleen Shoop sucks you right in with a riveting scene and continues laying the groundwork for an emotionally charged and tension filled “prolonged” climax. At times it was almost like reading three different books with all the different storylines going on, but that’s what was making it so interesting! I like that I never once felt lost or confused, despite the amount of drama happening at any given time. Ms. Shoop has a way of writing that makes you feel like you are right in the scene as a participant, not merely an observer. I must say that there were several scenes (most notably the one with Rose and Theresa) that literally had me holding my breath in nervous anticipation. A captivating novel on many levels, one that I would most definitely recommend to lovers of historical fiction.
AprilDawn More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed it but... I really enjoyed reading "After the Fog" by Kathleen SHoop. For me this novel started off pretty slow, but gradually things started falling in line and the pace picked up about 1/3 to half way in. In my opinion too much time was wasted on the mundane details of the day to day, which weren’t very interesting, quite frankly. I get that it was all set up for the plots and subplots revolving the family members, but I just felt it could have been much tighter. Once the drama began unfolding though, it was worth the wait. I was genuinely surprised by a few twists, and say that I had maybe a little tiny tear in my eye at the ending (that’s a lot for me!). I read a lot of novels and usually I can find a character or two that I don’t like or feel was shabbily written…this was not the case here, as I thought every one of the wide cast of characters were well-written and fleshed out. I appreciate it when I feel like I know their “personalities” as I’m reading, and they all feel distinct. This was a wonderful novel that I enjoyed reading, and I’m giving it 4 stars (instead of five) because for me the beginning was too slow. But the rest was fantastic!
BookPrincessSF More than 1 year ago
Amazing...loved it WOW! What a truly amazing story! I am so impressed how Kathleen Shoop took an obscure event (or maybe not, but I’d never heard of it), and made a compelling novel out of it! I was fascinated to learn that this “killing smog” was a real event (I had to read about it on Wiki after finishing the novel), and amazed how Ms. Shoop managed to wrap a totally believable storyline around this tragic incident. By following the daily life of nurse Rose as she navigates her personal and professional landmines, we see the impact the tragedy has not only on the innocent town people, but the not-so-innocent family and friends of Rose, and the secrets that are uncovered. I thought the writing was flawless and I didn’t see even one editorial mistake (a huge plus in my book!) Highly recommend for almost anyone…there are a few mildly suggestive scenes, nothing too graphic.
KMatthews More than 1 year ago
A wonderful and engaging read... I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel where the MC was a nurse before, and I think it was a stroke of genius to have that be the person through whose eyes we experienced this story. On the surface, Rose Pavelesic seems to have it all together. She lives with her family and works as the town nurse. She is tough and no-nonsense, but she has to be. When her daughter tells her that she’s pregnant, and the town becomes smothered in a poisonous and deadly smog, Rose’s world is turned upside-down as she struggles to battle her demons, new and old. Ms. Shoop’s writing style is some of the best I’ve seen recently, and I fell right into this story with the greatest of ease, eager to see what would unfold next. The multi-layers of drama only added to the increasing tension in the book, and even though it had a fulfilling conclusion, I was sad to see it end.
Lilac_Wolf More than 1 year ago
A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review I'm so impressed with Kathleen Shoop. Her tasty novel, The Last Letter, was based on letters that were in her family. I admit it, I wondered if that was a one hit wonder...I'm sure authors have them too. Nope, she's great. She took this very real tragedy that happened in Donora where there were 3 mills to service all the surrounding mines. Being in a valley that held onto fog, the smoke from the mills was held in place. It really made me ill reading about the people walking around in the poisonous fog. Unhealthy people died, healthy people became ill...for days no one could even see, driving...WALKING was dangerous, driving was impossible. Then mixed in with that was Rose's life getting turned upside down. What a well written character that far too many women will relate too. Her husband and family were also given a great deal of depth. She lived with her husband, her teenage twins (boy/girl), brother-in-law with his wife and young son, and her husband's aged aunt & uncle. Very crowded, and while Rose and Henry worked hard for their own place something always comes up to prevent it. The plot was full to bursting and the story read as though in a dream. I think its because we are observing a memory in the present tense. It was so engaging, I couldn't put it down. Did you read The Last Letter? If not, you should get that and this. Both are wonderful stories.
cecewescott More than 1 year ago
Kathleen Shoop has a gift for transporting her readers back in time and placing their feet directly into the shoes of the characters she writes. The graphic tale of Nurse Rose Pavlesic and the community members she serves in the smoky steel town of Donora, Pennsylvania is gripping enough, but the fact that this fictional story is set within a true historical event, the killing fog of 1948, makes it a greater force. True to the style of her debut novel The Last Letter, Shoop is never shy in describing the realities of her characters' lives, this time a 1940s milltown, and does a masterful job once again of introducing us to a strong, compelling woman, all the while making a brilliant connection to our present day concern with clean air, public health and controlling industrial pollution. I strongly recommend this book to those in the health care profession, particularly nurses who will relate to Rose's passion for helping people, and those concerned with how pollution affects our lives. This is also a must-read for anyone who has ever lived in or near a steel town.
StacySEaton More than 1 year ago
This was my first time reading any of Kathleen Shoop’s work and I was quite impressed. My only true negative for this book is it was a slow start for me. As I myself live near a steel mill town, the story was of great interest to me, but I felt it took a bit of time to get down and dirty and really feel like the story was starting to build to a climax with the characters and plot. With that being said, once I did get pulled into the story, I realized the depth to which to story started. Ms. Shoop did an incredible job of building a very in-depth and detailed story, giving you a history that only these kinds of stories can have. Being based on a true event, and fictionalize to her taste, she not only gives a great tale but teaches you some history. I found that when I finished the story, I was still interested in the history and did some more research. This only proved that Ms. Shoop so caught my interest that I needed to expand on it. The writing of the story is smooth and well editing; the explanations of the tragedy heart wrenching and real. I could imagine what the people of the town went through by the way of her words. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to read this story ahead of time, and I have now found another author that I look forward to reading more from.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 1948 in the mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania, a suffocating smog and fog descended over the town for four days. Rose, the community nurse, has her hands full in a way that she could never have imagined.I found this book very hard to get into. The characters were very gritty, making them appear unrealistic. I also found it difficult to like the characters. It seemed that the author focused so much on every tiny detail that it took forever to get to the story. I have to admit that I couldn't finish this book, therefore I cannot recommend it to others.