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Chicago Fire Trilogy Books In Order

Publication Order of Chicago Fire Trilogy Books

The Hostage (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mistress (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Firebrand (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Largely focusing on romance literature, the award winning American author Susan Wiggs is world renowned, all due to her bestselling and accessible stories. These have been attracting readers from far and wide, drawing in an international audience, as people are enjoying her books regardless of where they’re from. Using elements of the historical novel as well, she’s no stranger to setting her books in the past, whilst retaining a grounded quality that readers can easily relate to. Writing with a high degree of accuracy, she manages to produce novels that are authentic, all thanks to the vast amount of research she does prior to writing each of her novels. Taking her readers on a journey, she transports them with her clear sense of fun and escapism, whilst simultaneously putting forwards a message and clear point-of-view. Articulating herself clearly, she writes in a direct almost matter-of-fact style that speaks to the reader on a personal, almost intimate level. It is her characters that also convey this sense of realism and intimacy, as they come alive almost, leaping off the page and staying with the reader long after they’ve finished the novel. Whilst she writes characters and protagonists from all periods in history, she still manages to keep it grounded, in that she makes them feel altogether human and, therefore, believable. This also allows them to easily resonate with her loyal following of fans, as she gives them a distinctive voice that really stands out from other similar characters. Iconic in a sense, she has created many series to, each one following a set of thematic lines, providing a clear premise for her audience. One such series that many people have come to appreciate over the years is her ‘Chicago Fire Trilogy’ series of books. Based around the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, it aims to tell stories from both in and around that particular event, relaying them from the moment the fire started. Using different theories from the moment the spark itself ignited, she incorporates stories of romance and drama, all using that single spark as the singular focal point. This sees a collection of stories that examines how the fire affected the residents of Chicago at that time, fictionalizing them in order to gain a greater level of insight into what it was actually like. Not only that, but the series is also highly entertaining, transporting the reader to a different time, making the series itself completely timeless in essence.

Working as a trilogy, the first novel originally came out in 2000 and was titled ‘The Hostage’, setting up the premise of the series overall. This was later followed up with ‘The Mistress’ that same year, as the final book, ‘The Firebrand’, was brought out in 2001, completing the trilogy. Each book would tell its own self-contained story, all centered around the spark that ignited the Chicago fire, which is what draws the series together. Each of the novels essentially work as stand-alone titles, whilst they also manage to bring something to the over-arcing themes of franchise as a whole. Standing the test of time, this really is a series that will continue to find fans for a long time to come, as more and more discover it every day.

The Hostage

Published in 2000, this was initially brought out through the Mira Books imprint. Setting up the series, this establishes both the premise and the tone. It also provides a singular story of romance and adventure.

Starting out on that one fateful day on the 8th of October in 1871, this sees the fire engulfing the city of Chicago from the one single spark. Meanwhile across the city the wealthy heiress Deborah Sinclair is attempting to refuse the society marriage that has been arranged by her powerful father. That’s when a mysterious avenger approaches their mansion armed with gun in hand looking for revenge. When the fire suddenly hits he grabs the heiress and charges off into the night with her, as flames engulf the mansion behind them. Taken to the Isle Royale, she is taken hostage on the small island shrouded in mist, as she finds herself integrating with the close-knit community there. It soon transpires that her family has committed a massive injustice and, as well as that, it seems that she’s strangely drawn to her captor Tom Silver. Will she ever get off the small island, and does she really want to? What grievous sin has her family committed? Who will save the hostage?

The Mistress

Providing the second book in the series, this also came out in 2000 through the Mira Books label. Offering another story, it develops the themes and ideas of the first. This was later followed up with ‘The Firebrand’ the following year in 2001, which was published through Mira Books too.

This time looking at Kathleen O’Leary, it sees her attending a glamorous high-society masquerade, despite being a penniless maid in reality. Receiving the attention of one Dylan Francis Kennedy, the two of them are suddenly caught amidst the fire, as they share what they believe to be their final moments together. Getting married in the literal heat of the moment, they then survive through extremely slim odds, leading to them looking forwards to the rest of their lives together. The only thing is that Dylan is really a penniless con-man looking to steal what her large fortune, as he’s not aware of who she really is. When the situation starts to transpire, new sparks fly between the two of them, as they begin to discover the truth about each other. Will they manage to overcome their differences and succumb to the passion flowing between them? Can they ever live a happy life together? What will become of the mistress?

The Chicago Fire Trilogy Series

As a set of historical romance novels, these really do have everything, as there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy here. Whilst it takes true-to-life accounts from the period itself, it plays fast and loose with the facts, which really works for what the series is trying to achieve. Giving the reader a real feeling of what it was like to live through such an event, the stories and the characters really do bring the era to life. That isn’t to say the series doesn’t forget to entertain though, as Wiggs really does manage to keep the reader glued to their seats, not wanting to put the books down. Creative and innovative, this is one series that truly captures a moment in time, immortalizing it and leaving behind a legacy for generations to follow.

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