Through the Shadows, by Karen Barnett

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

As San Francisco rises from the ashes, an age-old battle looms between corruption and the promise of new beginnings.

The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome-and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King’s hopeful future.

Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.

Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable. But opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney, Charles McKinley—a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco’s crooked politics—Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?

My Take:

Through the Shadows is the third in the Golden Gate Chronicles, which follow a family and their friends through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and its aftermath. People are flocking to the city looking for opportunity, even as corrupt officials and well-connected businessmen want to remove those they see as undesirable. Enter Charles McKinley, whose wealthy uncle attorney prefers to represent in court those who can afford to pay well or provide the right social connections. Providing legal assistance to a city mission is not among the senior McKinley’s ambitious plans for his nephew. Nevertheless, Charles is drawn to the mission’s cause.

through-the-shadows-400As with Karen Barnett’s previous titles, Through the Shadows is an entertaining read of life after the earthquake. Readers get an insight into the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of San Francisco in the early 20th century. Morality appears to have a sliding scale, with certain behaviors and people given a ‘free pass’ while others are treated with shame. All sides of society are featured, from wealthy politicians to young Chinese girls rescued from slavery. The story of the King family runs throughout the series, with each book building upon the previous one. For that reason, I do recommend reading them in consecutive order. This is a series I’ve enjoyed, and I feel a little sad now that it’s come to an end. I’ll miss the characters and will wonder how their lives could’ve progressed. Hopefully, everyone lived “happily ever after.”

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

This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity blog tour

Have you read Through the Shadows? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Publication Date: 03 May 2016

Page Count: 320

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

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Song of Silence, by Cynthia Ruchti

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope?

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. While Charlie retired early, Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.

Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her from the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.

My Take:

There are books you love from the very first page. Song of Silence is not one of those books. Instead, Song of Silence slips into your heart without you noticing. Halfway through it, I noted, “I can’t get into this book as much as the previous two books by Ruchti that I’ve read. Not sure why, but it could be because I can’t connect with the lead character.” I don’t know what it’s like to have your career ripped away from you.

Song of Silence Cynthia RuchtiFor Lucy, music was more than a career; it was her life’s passion. Suddenly, she was at home, annoyed by her husband’s idiosyncrasies. He might have meant well by his actions and response to her being laid off, but he wasn’t helping! Then, their grown children moved back home which brought about new problems. Yes, there were elements I enjoyed during this part of the book, such as the HHATT (“He’s home all the time”) group Lucy joined and her encounters with former students that highlighted the influence she’d had on them.

It wasn’t until the final quarter of Song of Silence that I began to feel the emotional pull of the book. This is when one false step forced Lucy to re-evaluate her life. It became impossible for her to return to the life she had known and she realized that there were other options for her. This is where Cynthia Ruchti’s creativity shines its magic and what makes her one of my favorite contemporary fiction authors. Her writing is deep without being difficult to comprehend. I’d recommend her books to anyone, and I’d include Song of Silence in that recommendation.

Thank you to Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my complimentary copy of Song of Silence, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity blog tour

Have you read Song of Silence? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Publication Date: 05 April 2016

Page Count: 320

Read more on:   Cynthia Ruchti’s Website   Abingdon House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

The Fruitcake Murders, by Ace Collins

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

As Christmas 1946 draws near, thirty-something marine officer-turned-homicide detective Lane Walker has his hands full. Three men with seemingly no relationship to each other have been murdered, including the powerful District Attorney. The only connection between the crimes? The weapons: twenty-year-old unopened fruitcake tins manufactured by a company that is no longer in business.

While some foods may be to die for, fruitcake isn’t one of them! This heaping helping of murder will be no easy task for Walker, and he certainly doesn’t need the determined and feisty Tiffany Clayton, the political reporter for The Chicago Star, getting in the way.

Employing witty dialogue and historical accuracy, The Fruitcake Murders offers equal parts murder, mystery, and mayhem in a perplexing whodunit set in the days just after World War II. Continue reading