A Maritime Disaster in 1915 Chicago

“If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we’d find that much of what we love has a lot to do with the memories we’ve attached to it.”—Jocelyn Green, Drawn by the Current.

Jocelyn Green’s Drawn by the Current takes you on a harrowing journey aboard the ill-fated SS Eastland, which capsizes while tied to a dock in 1915 Chicago. Olive Pierce, an insurance agent, takes her best friend on an excursion on the ship to celebrate her birthday when the unthinkable occurs.

With Claire missing amid the chaos, Olive’s escape is just the beginning. The wreckage is more than the twisted steel and the chilling waters of the lake—it’s the loss of hundreds of souls. Olive delves into the depths of the tragedy, not just to find answers, but to honor the memories of those lost.

As Olive pieces together the puzzle, she forms an unlikely friendship with Erik Magnussen, a newspaper photographer who loves amateur sleuthing as much as she does. Together, they unravel the mystery of the accident, despite being sabotaged at nearly every turn. Green’s skillful narrative avoids the complexity of jumping timelines, offering a straightforward, yet richly layered tale that keeps you anchored to the story’s current.

The tragic capsizing of the Eastland is not merely a backdrop—it is as much a character in this story as Olive and Erik. That 844 lives were claimed on that fateful day in 1915 lingers on every page, a ghostly reminder of the past reaching into the present. While the meticulously researched historical elements add a profound depth, at times, the author’s details were over the top.

As the last installment of a series, Drawn by the Current works equally well as a standalone. Green doesn’t just tell a story; she revives history, breathes life into it, and invites you to step aboard. Those who appreciate historical fiction with a strong female lead, and mysteries that pay homage to the past, will find themselves drawn to this book. I’m glad to have discovered this new-to-me author. I will certainly read more. 4.5 stars.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a comp of this title. The opinions are my own.

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Literature, Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .