Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Series: Golden Gate Chronicles(Book 2)
Goodreads Summary: 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 were striving to cure. Together they must ask is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?”
Ruby is the sister of Robert the main male character from book one. After losing her husband and seeing all her friends married and happy she decides to go live with Robert to free herself from all her well-meaning friends and family who want to see her remarry and to also find purpose for her life. What she did not expect was to find her brother engaged and not only living in the same house as his fiancé but also living with his single Doctor friend.
Gerald would be happy to remain a bachelor living alone in his house but due to the earthquake his home is not his own and now his friends single sister makes it even fuller. As much as he tried to ignore her he can’t help but find himself attracted to her but when side effects from his research threaten his health he wonders what God has in store for him.
What I liked: I really enjoyed this book. I liked all the characters. Ruby had been dealt a blow with the death of her husband and coming to live and work with her brother is a new start for her. When she starts to have feeling for Gerald she fights it because she is scared to death to lose someone else and by facing this fear she also starts to gain her faith in God again.
Gerald puts all his effort into his work and research but as he and Robert lose more patience’s and see possible health issues due to the x-ray machine they are using for research he starts to wonder if what he is doing is really helping people. Plus the more time he spends with Ruby the more he want a wife and family yet he worries his health could be in jeopardy.
I found this very real and down to earth. The post-earthquake setting lets readers see how much changed and how the city is working to rebuild and the conditions some people had to live and work in. The family dynamics with Robert and his fiancé’s upcoming wedding add some humor to the sometimes darker story.
What I didn’t like: The overall plot of this book was kind of sad. As much as I enjoyed it I just wanted the book to be over as I really don’t enjoy reading about sickness. The ending was okay but still left me feeling somewhat sad for the characters.
Overall this was an enjoyable book and a good sequel to the first book in the series. I highly recommend reading the first book as this book follows right after it. I have enjoyed learning about the 1906 earthquake and how the city dealt with and rebuilt after.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this e-book from the publisher through NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.