Abby’s shattered faith in both God and man is challenged when the terrible earthquake hits 1906 San Francisco.
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?
There have been many novels written about the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. I’ve even read a couple of them. None, however, have grabbed me quite like this sophomore release from Karen Barnett. Out of the Ruins is not just a romance that uses the earthquake as a background. The earth-shaking event is central to the narrative as the reader experiences the initial quake, its aftershocks, and the fire through the eyes of the main characters. Robert and Abby survive the quake, but must now go through rollercoaster emotions of joy and loss as they attempt to locate friends and family in the city. Along the way they witness life and death, and survival and desperation. They give assistance where they can, but is it enough?
The setup to the story is Abby’s sister’s death from leukemia. Abby believes God has provided Robert as an answer to prayer. While Robert’s treatment shows some initial success, Abby’s family ultimately suffers tragedy. Abby blames both God and Robert for her sister’s death but, during her perilous journey through the city, what she witnesses will diminish her anger. The ‘ruins’ in the book’s title refer to San Francisco post-quake, but they could also refer to the ruins of Abby’s faith and the ruined lives of others she meets. Man will rebuild the city, but God can restore faith and life.
There are a few loose ends unanswered by the book’s close, but nothing major. Besides, this is the first in a series called The Golden Gate Chronicles. The other two books, to be released in 2015 and 2016 appear to be set in the city and focus on Robert’s sisters. I’m sure we’ll revisit Abby at least once or twice in them.
Thank you to Abingdon Press and Litfuse for my complimentary copy of Out of the Ruins, which I received in exchange for participation in a blog tour and an honest review.
Have you read Out of the Ruins? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 06 May 2014
Page Count: 320