Karen Barnett's story is charged with high voltage emotion encircling factual detail of the historical San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Although the characters and story are fictional, the realism rings authentic. Be prepared to experience heart jerking responses during your tour through this shocking event. Expect to audibly gasp and feel the need to pray for the situations described as seen on a wide screen movie. This is a sensational writing.
We tune in on the Fischer family near San Jose, California at a difficult time. The eldest sister Cecelia suffers from leukemia with little hope of surviving, but younger sister Abby will not accept Cecelia's pending death. She tries to make a deal with God, but quickly loses faith as He does not answer her prayer as demanded. When cousin Dr. Gerald Larkspur and his assistant Dr. Robert King arrive at the Fischer family orchard, Abby grabs onto hope when the doctors feel their new found cancer cure can help Cecelia. Consequently, the entire family, including little brother Davy travel the distance to San Francisco where Cecelia is hospitalized. The Fischer family stays with cousin Mae Larkspur in San Francisco. Mae is one of my favorite characters throughout this story, as she is loving, full of faith in God, and a teacher of the Word.
Prior to the doctor's assessment of Cecelia's situation, handsome Dr. Robert King, is taking a walk through the orchard and first meets Abby hanging upside down from a fruit tree. Nope, I am not explaining that! He becomes immediately and irrevocably attracted to Abby. Abby is a strong minded, strong willed, immature 19 year old who doesn't understand the word "no" and God made boundaries. Is this a case of striking the obvious match? Could be!
Soon to experience unmeasurable sorrow, their lives are further disastrously turned to chaos when the infamous earthquake hits San Francisco. Ms. Barnett's unique gift for description so vivid is one of her most favorable assets with the written word. Her story is uniquely imaginative based on real facts. She writes well of the longing of a romance interrupted by of all things, a major earthquake. I repeat, be prepared for many surprises and shocks as we follow Abby through her journey of searching for loved ones and meeting new acquaintances while San Francisco burns. Karen Barnett gives us a hint of human prejudice that remained existent even during tragedy. Some incidents are merciless, however plausible during such a time as this. God's presence is there for all - will Abby find her way to Him in her journey? Will the Phoenix show it's courageous head out of the ashes when the flames are gone?
Since this book is part of a trilogy, I am anxious to learn of who and what survived Out of the Ruins in the next two novels. I am certain it will be as exciting as this story. I see a remarkable future for this impressive writer.
I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I love historical fiction novels that offer a look into a time that isn't emphasized much. Out of the Ruins offered a wonderful glimpse into the beginning of the 20th century in San Fransisco where the world is starting to morph into the modern era that it is today.
Out of the Ruins seemed like it was two books in one. Part one focuses on the new medical technology of the time. Dr. Robert King and his mentor Dr. Gerald Larkspur have been working with radiation from the newly discovered X-ray technology to help battle cancers. It was interesting to see how this started the path to cancer treatments today, but reading how the radiation scales were tested on the doctor's themselves made me cringe. We know so much more about radiation now, but back then it was so new and unknown.
It was in this first part of the book we really get to know Abby. She is battling so much. She has a very weak faith and then she is handed her sisters diagnosis of leukemia, and she is forced to relocate so her sister can get the treatment she needs. As time goes on, she loses the only home she ever knew due to the medical bills her family has received. And finally, after much heartache and change, the great quake strikes the city and a massive fire sweeps through. She is lost.
The second part of the story is a story of survival and finding faith through the darkest of times. We see in this part of the story the quake and how quickly the fire decimates the city that has lost it's water supply. It a horrifying time for everyone there. I did kind of wish that the quake was shown in a little greater scale here, but the destruction that it produced started to unfurl as Abby made her way through the city.
I enjoyed how this story wasn't strictly a love story between Abby and Robert, I enjoyed that this is a story of finding faith. Everyone, I believe, has been in a place similar to Abby. The feeling of being alone, with no one who cares to watch out for you as you are thrown one hard ball after another. However, when offered a life raft for her pain through a journal from her aunt, she takes it and Abby starts to learn and grow.
I enjoyed the the background history and the main story of this book. I'm looking forward to the rest of The Golden Gate Chronicles.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Wow! A great book. Historical fiction well done. I loved the spiritual message of the story and the lesson Abby eventually learns that God is always with us even when bad things happen. I loved the scripture verses woven into the book. I can't wait to read the second book in this series.
"God, I'll do anything. I'll be anything. Whatever You want - name it. Just make her better. And You'd better be listening God, because I'm going to make one last promise. If You dare take her away...I'll never speak to You again." (pg 16).
When Abby Fischer made that prayer to God as a promise to her sister Cecilia who was dying of leukemia, she believed God would send help. She never expected it would be in the arms of the man who would help her out of the tree she had crawled in to for her private prayer time. Dr. Robert King, is her cousin Gerald's assistant. Just when all hope is lost for a cure for Cecilia, Robert believes that the latest treatment involving X-rays may be the last option for helping to prolong her life. All of the previous treatments involving morphine and arsenic have failed to bring about the answer to prayer they have been searching for.
Now it seems as if God has indeed provided her with that answer. Armed with the latest textbooks that have shown that a researcher in Chicago discovered one of his cancer patients improved when he irradiated the tumors. Apparently, the radiation not only penetrates the body, it appears to target and kill cancerous cells specifically. Now they can only hope that Cecilia will be strong enough for the treatment to work. Ir could help her gain back some of vitality and provide more time for the treatment to eradicate the cancerous cells.
Yet what Robert and Gerald fear is that the family is making them into heroes and banking on the fact that the cure will work and Cecilia will be healed. But since this treatment is still only exploratory at best and still in the research phase they still don't know how much radiation or length of time she needs to be under the Xray machine. If they're not careful they could end up causing her more damage than healing. No matter how much they try and convey honest expectations to the family and Cecilia, Abby believes God is going to answer their prayer. Only time will tell and it may be that time will be their worst enemy as the great earthquake from 1906 prepares to rock the city.
I received Out of the Ruins from Karen Barnett compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. This is such a great novel based on the two fold research that went into its creation. From the background on medical practices of the early 1900's to the unfolding of the tragic earthquake that devastated San Francisco in 1906. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. I found myself relating quite a bit to Abby. While she has such a profound love for her sister, she is still weak in her faith and believes prayer is simply a wish list for God to answer. She will have her faith tested in the direst of circumstances when she finds herself all alone in a city while her family remains lost in the multitude attempting to escape the ruins of San Francisco and find safety. She learns that God never leaves us in the midst of our circumstances but walks faithfully by our side from beginning to end. This is the first novel in the Golden Gate Chronicles and I can't wait to see what lies in store in the next novel. I loved this one and can easily give it a 5 out of 5 stars.
Abby's sister is fighting a losing battle with leukemia. When her cousin suggests a new treatment might work her family jumps at the chance and make the trip to San Francisco. Months pass and Abby's sister does not survive. Abby had grown to care for Robert who was her cousins right hand man, but when her sister dies she blames him and God. As she is dealing with the grief of her sister's death the 1906 earthquake hits and the city and her family is thrown into chaos. Can Abby get her faith in God back as well as find love?
This book sounded very interesting. I didn't know a lot about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and found it quite fascinating. This is a very well written historical account of what living through a horrible disaster would be like.
What I liked: Learning about the medical science of the time was really interesting to me. Plus throwing into the mix the earthquake made for a fascinating historical read. I really felt I got a feeling for what it would have been like there when it was happening. I also thought the plot was interesting. Dealing with the death of a loved one and why God allows is a challenging subject.
What I did not like: While the plot and historical aspect of the story were quite good the characters lacked. It almost felt like the author was telling the story of the earthquake and added the characters into it. They just did not seem to mesh together. The story seemed to drag on even though the last half of the book only covers a few days. The romance between Abby and Robert also seemed flat.
Overall this was not a bad book I did enjoy reading it I just did not love it. I really enjoyed reading about the x-ray machine and how it was being used in 1906. The earthquake and what the city went through after the earthquake was devastating. It was hard to imagine the scope of the fires that broke out. I do plan to read the next book when it comes out. I hope that now that the framework for the series has been established there will be a better love story. If you enjoy historical fiction I say add this book to your read list. The historical details were outstanding.