Monday, June 29, 2015
Beyond the Ashes- Karen Barnett
Description: 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?
My Thoughts: Beyond the Ashes is a beautiful story about learning to love and trust again after loss. Ruby and Gerald were interesting characters to follow through the aftermath of the San Francisco fire and the complications of rebuilding lives in more ways than one. Unfortunately, there were parts which felt more drawn out then necessary.
A large part of the story is dedicated to Gerald teaching Ruby to drive and her being afraid of cars. While I thought it interesting for a scene or two, that it continued to come repetitively, and at moments I was much more interested in the camps or the hospital, I wished that it had been cutting it altogether. Particularly when cutting it would have left more room to flesh out the ending.
The description mentions Gerald developing cancer yet, while this is alluded to through out, they do not work through it as a couple for more than 60 or so pages, most of which is over shadowed by other conflicts. It made the ending feel rushed and incomplete. Maybe if it had been fleshed out into two books, I would have liked it better.
Other than a rushed ending and some scenes which, while enjoyable, meant little to the plot, I did enjoy this book. It is the first I have read by Karen and I hope to find one of her others (perhaps the first of the series), and see if those are more fleshed out. Then, I am sure, her writing is fabulous.
I received this book through Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.