This historical romance is set against the earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco. The historical details are fascinating and I was captivated by the description of the disaster and how people might have reacted and coped in this horrific situation. The story is heart wrenching from many different perspectives, though essentially it is a story of love and reaching out to accept love that is offered both by the Creator and by those who are reflecting His love. From cancer research and experimental treatments to the China slave trade, this is an interesting and complex story.
The spiritual theme is often front and center, as the characters search for answers and often spend much time refusing to accept (or not recognizing) the answers that God provides. Many readers will be able to relate in some way with these dilemmas.
Im looking forward to the second book in the series, Beyond the Ashes, Book 2 of The Golden Gate Chronicles.
Unlike many of my recent reads, this book only took a few pages to pull me in to another time and place. The characters jump right off the page, and the reader feels their emotions follow the path of those characters. Abby's closeness to her sister and her personality were something with which I could identify. The needing her sibling, her introvert personality, fear of people are all things I have experienced. The historical setting is well done and the reader is there. Truly a heart touching story that lingers after the book is closed. I've had it on my nightstand for about a week...already read...just not quite ready to write my thoughts and add it to my forever shelves. It is a keeper that I highly recommend!
Since I enjoy historical fiction and know the author personally, I looked forward to reading this novel. It didn't disappoint. The authentic details bring the period to life. Not only do we get a tale about the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906, we find medical drama about early treatment for cancer. I was expecting the former so became impatient waiting since it forms the second half of the book, but the whole story ties together well and forms a deeper picture of the lives affected by these tragedies. I also enjoyed Karen's way with words and some fine phrasing--this adds to the pleasure of reading for me. That being said, and maybe it's just me, but I didn't connect as strongly with the characters as I'd hoped to. In some stories I feel so much a part of the action, but in this one I felt like an observer. Nevertheless, I gladly recommend this well-plotted novel. (I was not asked to review the book by the author, but chose to do so.)
Abby Fisher is horribly distraught. Her sister, her beautiful, charming sister, is deathly ill with leukemia. Always in her sisters shadow, Abby still will move heaven and earth to save Cecelia. Their cousin, a doctor, brings a young colleague with him when he comes to see Cecelia Dr. Robert King has an experimental, but risky treatment that may save her life.
Even though Cecelia may not live through the trip, they transport her by motor car to San Francisco to the hospital where Dr. King had his equipment. This new treatment, X-ray therapy, may be the answer to all their prayers.
Enter the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. How the family survives and grows stronger through the chaos is an enchanting story. And Abbys feelings for young Dr. King are the stuff of an enchanting romance. But first, Abby must work through her grief and anger that causes her to question her faith and even the very existence of God.
Karen Barnett is quoted as saying, There was a time in my life where I pushed God away, but it was because of guilt rather than grief. I knew God would never approve of the choices I was making at the time, so I played Jonah and hid from Him, thinking I could return once I fixed all my problems, The result? I continued falling further into sin because I was incapable of changing myself. It took a time before I realized I needed Gods strength to overcome my weakness. Barnett has taken her own experiences to build a story that leave us with the understanding that no matter who we are or what we've done, God is still as close to us as our next breath and will never leave us nor forsake us.
Out of the Ruins is the first in Barnetts Golden Gate Chronicles series bringing to life the world of the early 20th century a time when technology was changing lives faster than people could keep up. Modern advances such as automobiles, the telephone, electricity, x-rays all changed peoples lives in unimaginable ways. Youll love Abbys story and will want to read the rest of the series.
Karen Barnetts novel, Out of the Ruins, grips the reader from page one. Her exciting story meshes the horror of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and its subsequent fire with a tender love story. Her characters grip readers hearts as they grapple with despair, disillusionment, and regret in the face of disaster and failure. Barnett weaves the momentous historical event together with fascinating bits of medical details from the first decade of the Twentieth century to create a setting that sets the heart pounding and reveals truth about God. I rejoice in the hope I gleaned from this historical novel. God is with us during the bad times as well as the good. Although the characters are fictional, the truths they reveal are real and applicable to the present.