Beyond the Ashes, by Karen Barnett

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

“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?

Keep reading for my review and information about a book giveaway.

My Take:

San Francisco is slowly rebuilding after a massive earthquake levelled most of it. Ruby arrives from Sacramento, partly to put her rusty nursing skills to use but also to get away from the spate of weddings taking place among friends and family. Staying with her brother, Robert, seems an ideal plan, but his apartment has been destroyed and he’s lodging with the extended family of his bride-to-be. Ruby is welcome to stay for the time being, but it wouldn’t be proper to stay past the wedding. It doesn’t help that their host, Gerald, is an attractive man who seems to find her attractive as well. Something has to give, but is Ruby willing to risk her heart as well as her reputation?

Beyond the Ashes Karen BarnettBeyond the Ashes is the second of Karen Barnett’s Golden Gate Chronicles. We first met Gerald, Robert, and Robert’s fiancée Abby in Out of the Ruins, which detailed the run up to the trembler and the terrifying moments during and after the earthquake. The focus is on the same group of people sharing one of the few houses still standing, and the continuing search for a cancer cure using controversial methods. As the city rebuilds, old and new ways of thinking are combining. Cars are beginning to share the roads with carts and horses. While Robert and Abby plan their wedding, life is continuing amid the organized chaos of the refugee camps. There’s a good mix of characters, including a dachshund called Otto. And I liked that Gerald and Ruby showed that they were human and faced temptation.

The main theme appears to be that nothing in life is certain. Robert and Abby get their ‘happily ever after’ but Ruby’s history shows even that can be an unrealistic notion. Given the storyline, therefore, I did feel that Beyond the Ashes ends on a cliffhanger. There’s not the guarantee of happiness that readers see in other romances. I was, however, mollified by the excerpt at the back of the upcoming third book in the series, which will probably be out next year.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for my complimentary copy of Beyond the Ashes, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Beyond the Ashes? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Publication Date: 16 June 2015

Page Count: 320

Read more on:   Karen Barnett’s Website   Abingdon Press’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million


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