Ruby Marshall, a young widow, tired of hiding her personal pain when attending the frequent weddings of friends and family, decides she will leave Sacramento and travel to San Francisco to help her brother Robert, a doctor. San Francisco, still reeling from the aftermath of the earthquake, is the perfect backdrop for Ruby's story. It only takes Ruby a few hours in the city to realize the severity of the devastation and she puts aside her self-pity to help both at the hospital and at shelters for those who are homeless. Her daily work brings her closer to Gerald Larkspur, her brother's medical partner, but also to Patrick Allison, the engaging Irishman who serves the refugees of the earthquake. Few realize that the smiling, boisterous Patrick is really Reverend Allison.
What I liked best about the book are the variety of historical details. First, the early 1900s are the early days of the automobile; and the early auto has a major place in this story. Ruby's husband had been killed in an auto/horse accident, and Ruby, fearful of all autos, convinces herself that she must learn to drive to overcome her fear. Also fascinating is Robert and Gerald's cancer research which includes early use of x-ray (radiation) treatment. And of course, San Francisco's story of the poor and the wealthy alike struggling to rise from the ashes is a great one. I also like how Barnett has created a story of strong people, at the same time she shows that personal strength is not enough, especially seen through Ruby's eyes. Barnett does an exceptional job in blending history, a solid story line, intriguing characters, and a faith message. I look forward to reading more novels by this author. BEYOND THE ASHES is the second book in The Golden Gate Chronicles. Although you do not need to read the first book OUT OF THE RUINS, if you are interested in the San Francisco earthquake as I am, you will probably want to read the first book also.
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse and Abingdon Press for my honest review.
If you are interested in winning a copy of this book, head over to this Litfuse page before July 19th.