What I enjoyed most about this novel was the way the author immersed me in the era. Her descriptions of the social expectations, clothing, medical practices, and day-to-day life of that time brought the book to life. She created a vivid, believable character in Ruby Marshall.
FYI: I met Karen Barnett at the Pierce County (WA) Sumner library during its Write in The Valley event. Karen was one of the authors on the panel. I enjoyed her presentation and her candid answers to the audience's questions. Lucky me, I received a hardback copy of this book as a prize for correctly answering a question. Beyond the Ashes is Book Two in The Golden Gate Chronicles, but it stands alone.
July 6, 1906
"I refuse to attend another wedding. I'm through." Ruby King Marshall juggled two glasses of punch in her gloved hand as she shepherded her blind cousin through the overcrowded ballroom. Each doting couple waltzing around the polished floor reminded Ruby of her loss, like a needle thrust into her heart. Widows and weddings - shouldn't it be bad luck?
Friday 56 (from Page 56 in my hardback copy):
"Why must men drive so recklessly? You think you are invincible and nothing can happen. You're all alike."
Genre: Historical Christian Romance
Book Length: 320 Pages (hardback edition)
Amazon Link: Beyond the Ashes
Author Website: Karen Barnett Books
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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?