Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash by Tammy Pasterick @shewritespress @tammypasterik @gosparkpoint #historicalfiction #bookreview


It’s Pittsburgh, 1910—the golden age of steel in the land of opportunity. Eastern European immigrants Janos and Karina Kovac should be prospering, but their American dream is fading faster than the colors on the sun-drenched flag of their adopted country. Janos is exhausted from a decade of twelve-hour shifts, seven days per week, at the local mill. Karina, meanwhile, thinks she has found an escape from their run-down ethnic neighborhood in the modern home of a mill manager—until she discovers she is expected to perform the duties of both housekeeper and mistress. Though she resents her employer’s advances, they are more tolerable than being groped by drunks at the town’s boarding house.

When Janos witnesses a gruesome accident at his furnace on the same day Karina learns she will lose her job, the Kovac family begins to unravel. Janos learns there are people at the mill who pose a greater risk to his life than the work itself, while Karina—panicked by the thought of returning to work at the boarding house—becomes unhinged and wreaks a path of destruction so wide that her children are swept up in the storm. In the aftermath, Janos must rebuild his shattered family with the help of an unlikely ally.

Impeccably researched and deeply human, Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ashdelivers a timeless message about mental illness while paying tribute to the sacrifices America’s immigrant ancestors made.


Janos and Karina are struggling to survive. Janos works in the steel mill and Karina is a maid for one of the mill supervisors. They are chasing the American dream. But the long, dangerous hours and little pay are taking their toll. Karina decides she has had enough and she starts chasing something else. This changes the course of so many lives.

This is a very good story with just a few minor problems. The conversations are a bit stilted or canned. But, the characters and the rich history will keep you reading and enjoying so much of this story.

Karina is a character I despised, then felt sorry for. Janos is the good guy…the really good guy. Pole is hardworking and he stole my heart. There are several more I could talk about but these are the three which make such a huge impression. Add in the setting of the steel mills and the coal mines of Pennsylvania and you have a wonderful story you will not soon forget!

Need a book with tons of history and great characters…This is it! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel for a honest review.

Purchase here

Barnes and Noble


About fredreeca

I am an avid reader and paper crafter. I am a mom of 2 children, 5 dogs and 1 cat. I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals Fan
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