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Dark Hearts of Chicago (2007)
This dark and exciting historical novel, set in 19th Century Chicago, marks the collaborative debut of two remarkable and well established British talents, the novelist William Norwood and the historian Helen Rappaport. When young, inexperienced but very ambitious female reporter, Emily Strauss, blags her way into newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer's office, she comes away with a treacherous assignment: to discover what happened to Anna Zemeckis, one of many women who have disappeared during the 1893 World's Fair. With the support of a young man who is just venturing into the burgeoning trade of news photography, Emily soon finds herself in a race against time to save Anna's life and to bring her story back to New York before Pulitzer's tough deadline expires. Chicago is a place of dangerous contrasts. Most obviously, there is all the glitz and razzmatazz of the Fair itself and the spectacular wealth and influence of a new middle class elite. But Emily must also come face to face with the rival ethnic groups, the sinister underworld of pornography and prostitution, as well as the ruthless meatpacking giants of the Union Stock Yard, who control the lives and destinies of so many of Chicago's immigrant poor.
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