Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beyond the Ashes (The Golden Gate Chronicles Series Book Two) by Karen Barnett [Review & Giveaway]

"Tis better to have loved and lost...," but can Ruby Marshall risk her heart a second time?

Where better to rebuild and face one's fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes? Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she'll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn't anticipate finding new love.

Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he'd always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert's widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed. Ruby and Gerald's fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they're striving to cure. Together they must ask---is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?

My thoughts: Just as life itself is a mixture of storylines, so Karen Barnett has woven a word picture in Beyond the Ashes of the continuation of life for a variety of characters in the months following the devastating earthquake and fire in San Francisco in the early 1900s. At any time period of history, such an earthquake and fire would level the playing field of the people whose lives are so torn and disrupted.

As medical professionals seek to visit the clinics, hospitals, and tent camps to care for the survivors they encounter the dark side of San Francisco that survived along with the children sick with contagious disease that often follows such devastation. Housing is in very short supply and Dr. "Gerald" has opened his home to his extended family and that of his co-worker, Dr. "Robert." 

Onto this scene, Robert's sister, Ruby, arrives to lend her support in earthquake recovery. She is a nurse and brings her skills to the task. Soon we see a blossoming romance between Ruby and Gerald. All is not well,even for earthquake torn San Francisco, and even the healers see intrusion of disease into their own lives.

Amidst these storylines of survival and romance, there is the 1900s research into the treatment and eradication of cancer as the two doctors pursue radiation for this purpose. I found it interesting to read the author's interpretation of hospital and clinic scenes during this period. Also, the inclusion of early cancer treatment held a special interest to me as my own grandfather died of brain cancer at a young age. He had three surgeries at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the early 1920s and died at the time of the third surgery. Whether they used radiation as a treatment option for him, I do not know. I just know that any treatment during that time was primitive at best.

I found that the book began a bit slow as the author had to lay the character foundations and set the scene for the reader. About a third of the way into the book, the story picked up and was more enjoyable. As I said, a romance blossomed and while a good clean read, there is a bit of kissing going on which some might find offensive in Christian fiction. I would say the book is suitable for highschool teens and adults. There are no teens in the book, so they might not find it interesting, anyway.
1 Copy of "Beyond the Ashes"
Begins July 10 & ENDS July 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Meet the Author
Karen Barnett is the author of Mistaken and several articles that have been published by Guideposts and other national magazines. She lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and three cats.

Find Karen onlinewebsiteFacebook,Twitter  

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for the review. Giveaway copy is provided by the publicists.

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