Out of the Ruins is the first book in The Golden Gate Chronicles which is set in San Francisco in 1905. It was a time when new technology was beginning to replace horses and buggies with automobiles and the telephone was making in-roads into peoples homes. Doctors were gaining new knowledge, and experimented with new medical treatments to help their patients get well.
Abby Fischer was shy and preferred working with plants and trees rather than be around people. She didn't have any friends other than her sister and best friend, Cecelia. But, Cecelia had been diagnosed with leukemia, and was dying. Abby couldn't imagine living without her sister so she made a bargain with God, telling him that if he made her sister well she would serve him; but if he didn't, she wouldn't have anything to do with him. When Dr. Robert King, begins an experimental x-ray treatment on Cecelia, Abby believed that God was using Dr. King to heal her sister. Abby also was beginning to see Robert as a friend. However, the treatment didn't work out the way she thought it should. So, she stopped praying and turned her back on God, letting anger and bitterness take root. Her choice led her into misery, even though she believed it was all God's fault. She even pushed Robert away, blaming him for the failed treatments and her own unhappiness.
Robert King had a belief in God, but he believed that faith and prayer belonged in church on Sunday. During the week he put his faith in medical science. When he met Abby, he longed to be her knight in shining armor. Only God had other plans and he felt that he had failed Abby. He fell in love with her, but she wished that she had never met him.
All too soon San Francisco was struck by a devastating earthquake, and raging fires that destroyed much of what the earthquake left behind. During the subsequent days that followed, homelessness and hunger, separation and loneliness, as well as, danger caused both Abby and Robert to discover they couldn't fix things on their own. Will they see their own need for a savior? Will they turn to God for help, or will they continue to struggle and to face things on their own?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Out of the Ruins. The plot flowed well and I was drawn into the story. I enjoyed meeting the characters, walking with them through their grief and trials and watching them stretch and grow as they were faced with such hardship. I am looking forward to reading the next book in The Golden Gate Chronicles.
**Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett was provided for me free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.
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.