After the Fog, by Kathleen Shoop.
This book is set in Donora, Pennsylvania in 1948, at the time of the "killing smog." The protagonist is a nurse, one of only a handful of medical personnel in the small mill town. When the geological features of the area combine with an unusual weather pattern and three mills pumping out poisonous gases into the air, the town is struck by an increasingly thick and deadly fog, which ultimately strikes down many of the townsfolk who are in weak health, before action is finally taken to shut down the mills temporarily, thereby allowing the smog to dissipate.
I absolutely adored this book. I do have to admit that at first I found it a bit slow moving and the mood of the book incredibly depressing. As the story developed however, I found myself staying up far later than I should have just to find out what happened next. What I loved about this book most was the symbolism -- the thicker the fog, the more confused and in the dark the characters were about each other and each others' acts and motivations and feelings. Finally, as the fog cleared, the characters came to see things for what they truly were, and came to appreciate that things had worked out for the best, even if they had not worked out quite the way they had expected. Intertwined with this story is a a mystery never quite fully resolved, but sufficiently resolved to leave you wondering how things worked out.
Over all this was a fabulous story, brilliantly told, which builds throughout until its final denouement. I highly recommend this book. 5 out of 5.
I received an electronic review copy of this book from the publisher. This did not affect this review.