Set in San Francisco in the early 1900's, this book captures both the personal journeys of its characters as well as the big earthquake that nearly destroyed the city in 1906. I'd never read anything set around that particular historical event, and that uniqueness was what drew me to the story. I didn't expect to also find interesting medical information from that time period, which was an added bonus to this history lover.
Abby Fischer is a headstrong 19-year-old who was raised in the California countryside, helping her father with their family orchard. When Abby's older sister Cecelia begins losing her battle with leukemia, the family will do whatever it takes to get her treatment, including reaching out to a second cousin who is involved in experimental X-ray treatments for the disease. Abby won't accept Cousin Gerald's diagnosis that it's too late to help Cecelia, and the whole family is uprooted to San Francisco in order to give Cecelia as much of a fighting chance as they can give her.
I had trouble liking Abby right from the start. There's a difference between not wanting to hear a "no" answer, and insisting that "no" is not an answer at all, even when it's for the best. Abby also liked to lash out verbally when she was upset, and even becomes physically violent at one point. I spend a lot of time around teenagers, as I have teenage siblings and I work as a teacher of junior high and high school students, and none of them display the immaturity that Abby was prone to. Considering this was set nearly 110 years ago, you'd expect people to be more mature instead of less so. Everyone has their weaknesses, but this stubborn lack of self-control was frustrating to me.
Another main character was Dr. Robert King, assistant of Cousin Gerald, who oversees Cecelia's treatments. He is enamored by Abby immediately, and begins to feel guilty for using Cecelia as part of very experimental research.
When the earthquake brings the city to its knees, Abby and her family must find a way to survive the loss of their home and the fires that are raging throughout San Francisco. Her heart already very hardened towards God, will Abby learn to see His care and protection even in great tragedy?
This is the first novel I have read by this author, and I kept being distracted by her writing style. She was skimpy on possessive adjectives, leaving me feeling like sentences were missing needed words. Here's an example from page 239: "Abby wrapped arms around the woman's shoulders, squeezing. 'You did it!' Her heart thudded. Abby wiped her forehead with sleeve cuff and looked into Robert's face." Whose arms and whose sleeve cuff is she referring to? This sounds more like a rough draft than a polished, edited novel .
Although the characters and their situations did not move me, I will say that this novel delivered on the historical aspect, and that part held my interest all the way through. I wouldn't be opposed to reading future works by this author to see if they were more my style.I received my copy of the book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.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:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 19th.
- A Kindle Fire HDX
- Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett
Winner will be announced at the Out of the Ruins Facebook author chat party on June 19th.
Connect with Karen for an evening of fun book chat, games, and prizes. Karen will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in The Golden Gate Chronicles series!
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!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!