While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn't expect, however, is for God's answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.
As they work together toward a cure, Abby's feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?
My take: Ever since I read Promise Me the Dawn by Diane Noble (writing as Amanda MacLean) as a young teen, I've been interested in the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake. When I learned that Karen Barnett, whose Mistaken I enjoyed reading last summer, had written a book about the disaster, I jumped at the chance to read it.
Out of the Ruins is not what I expected ... in a good way. I thought most of the book would center around the earthquake, and while a large portion of it does, the first third of the book does a great job of introducing the characters and helping the reader understand exactly why Abby is so angry with God. Barnett also offers a fascinating glimpse into the early use of radiation to treat cancer.
The second part of the book takes place over four days, beginning with the earthquake on April 18, 1906. The action shifts back and forth between Robert and Abby as they each search for loved ones following the quake. I found this section to be the heart of the book, and Barnett did an excellent job of bringing the reader into the chaos following the quake.
I have to say that I wasn't a huge fan of Abby through most of the book—I thought she was a bit flighty at times, and sometimes her reasoning didn't make sense to me. But Barnett has stated that she didn't want to write the typical heroine, and I think she definitely succeeded. Just because Abby wasn't my favorite doesn't diminish the quality of Barnett's writing.
Out of the Ruins is the first in a planned trilogy, and you can bet I'll be coming back to read the rest!
My rating: 4 stars
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About the giveaway: Don't miss the debut book, Out of the Ruins, in Karen Barnett's new series, The Golden Gate Chronicles. Set against the backdrop of early 20th century San Francisco, Out of the Ruins will remind readers that no matter who we are or what we’ve done, God is still as close to us as our next breath.
Karen is celebrating with a fun giveaway and Facebook author chat party.
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire HDX
- Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett
So grab your copy of Out of the Ruins and join Karen on the evening of June 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)