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Customer Reviews for Abingdon Press Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1

Abingdon Press Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1

While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn't expect, however, is for God's answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best. As they work together toward a cure, Abby's feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?
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Customer Reviews for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Review 1 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Riveting Tale

Date:June 18, 2014
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Digging4Pearls
Location:Shippensburg, PA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Abby Fischer has only one desire in life - to see her sister, Cecelia, well again. When an experimental treatment is suggested, Abby tells God she'll do anything if He will only save Cecelia's life, otherwise she won't speak with Him ever again.
Dr. Robert King is consumed with his research, and trying to make a breakthrough with his new remedy for cancer patients. He has set his beliefs in God on a shelf in favor of his knowledge of science.
Set in the backdrop of San Francisco, California before the historic earthquake in 1906, Out of the Ruins is a soul-searching tale of death and loss, hope and faith. Karen Barnett has developed a gripping tale of God's faithfulness through fire and flames.
This book was provided free for review by Abingdon Press.
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Review 2 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Beautiful Story That Breeds Hope Amid Ruins!

Date:June 15, 2014
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Wanda
Location:NC
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
1905, California
The stranger reached up his hand to assist her on the last step to the earth. "I supposed I should apologize for frightening you."
Abby plucked a twig from her apron. "You surprised me." She regretted not taking time to fix her hair before leaving the house. Or put on a hat. What must he think?
A crooked smile crossed the man's face. "Well, then we're even, because no one ever told me girls grew on trees here in California. If I'd known, I might have gone into farming instead of medicine."
That small excerpt was a more light-hearted scene in this book and one of my favorites. One of the most touching scenes was just prior to this one. Abby's sister, Cecelia, is dying and has just asked Abby to pray for her despite her broken relationship with God. Abby agrees and climbs a tree in the orchard to pour her heart out to God. Abby said, "God, save her. I'll do anything--anything you want." There is so much passion in that statement. I closed my eyes and I could imagine Abby's reluctance to speak to a God that seems indifferent but I could also feel her pain and heartbreak at wanting nothing more than for Him to answer her prayer and save her sister. That is a scene that spoke to the very heart of me as a sister. The love of sisters runs deep and it was captured beautifully in this book.
Abby Fischer is a lively young lady that always feels like she pales in comparison to her sister. She dresses in drab clothes because she feels that pretty clothes would be wasted on her and her relationship with God is almost nonexistent. But she is lively and has spunk and determination and I loved her. It's easy to see why she's my favorite character in this book. Dr. Robert King was Abby's cousin's new apprentice. When every doctor gave up on Cecelia, Robert brought hope with a new experimental treatment. And, despite how Abby saw herself in her own eyes, Robert only had eyes for her from the first time they met. The chemistry and budding feelings between the two was beautiful.
Things take a tragic turn and Abby's heart is shattered. She doesn't think her heart can take much more when the San Francisco earthquake destroys the city. Abby has to trust the very One she feels has turned a deaf ear in the past and its something Abby struggles with greatly.
This book was so well written. It's plain to see the amount of research that went into it, from the experimental treatment to the devastation of the earthquake, because it's so rich in historical detail. I love this time period with the newly made automobiles puttering down the streets. San Francisco in 1905 was portrayed so beautifully until the time of the earthquake where the destruction of the city was palpable. It came alive with every stroke of Karen's fingers on the keyboard. It's a story of love, hope, family and faith, a story of reconciliation. It's not often that a story hooks me from the very first page but this one hooked me like a fish. It gives us hope. A hope that, no matter the devastation we are going through, there are brighter days ahead. Beauty amid the ruins of our lives. It will speak to your very soul and leave footprints on your heart. It's pure gold in black and white. I hadn't read anything by Karen Barnett before but she is definitely on my list of favorites now. I'll be looking for future books from her, such as book two in The Golden Gate Chronicles, and waiting impatiently. If you love historical fiction, you'll love Out of the Ruins! I most highly recommend it!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review and no monetary compensation was received.
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Review 3 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

San Francisco Earthquake, Rebuilding and Romance

Date:June 13, 2014
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VicsMediaRoom
Location:Irvine, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Karen Barnett in her new book, “Out Of The Ruins” Book One in The Golden Gate Chronicles series published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Abby Fischer.
From the back cover: “God, save her. I’ll do anything. Just make her better. And You’d better be listening, God, because if You dare take her away . . . I’ll never speak to You again.”
Abby Fischer doesn’t know if God will answer her prayer for her dying sister. She doesn’t know if miracles really happen. And she certainly doesn’t know if the handsome Dr. Robert King, with his risky experimental treatment, is the one to remedy her doubts. When tragedy strikes and the mighty San Francisco earthquake shatters what is left of her heart, Abby wonders if God will hear her as she flees alone through burning streets. What will it take to show her that the One she doesn’t want to love is the One whose love will save her?
A shaky prayer. A shattered faith. A city in ruins. What—or who—will bring Abby back to God?
When you have historical fiction I am right there because I enjoy history. When you mention the Great San Francisco Earthquake I am hooked. That was an epic disaster that showed the heroism of the people after the devastation as they worked together to heal and rebuild that city. Ms. Barnett gets it! Against this backdrop she brings us Abby and Robert, two highly emotionally wounded individuals who need a fresh dose of God and each other. When you take these wounded main characters and spotlight them against the wounded city you are in for a story that you, simply, are not going to want to put down. Do not start this book late at night because it will cost you sleep as you will keep flipping pages as fast as you can read. On top of everything “Out Of The Ruins” is a wonderful romance. Ms. Barnett does an outstanding job of bringing her characters to life and you really want them to heal and to succeed. I am already looking forward to the next book in this series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from LitFuse Publicity for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 4 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fascinating read

Date:June 13, 2014
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KavR
Location:Canada
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Fascinating on so many levels. The historical detail in medical care had me riveted...and cringing because the pioneers of modern medicine were totally clueless about the risks of radiation therapy. And the earthquake and subsequent fire that ravaged San Francisco was gut-wrenching to read about. Barnett brings this era to life. I could smell the smoke, taste the grit, feel the desperation and fear of every moment.
Abby does a lot of growing throughout the book. She is almost childlike at the beginning. in the way she tries to bargain with God, force Robert to perform to her expectations, will her sister to live. Her rigidity creates barriers between God, family, and friends. Fearful of being left behind -- and being left alone -- she doesn't realize that it is her own mindset and actions that become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Her personal journey of growth is powerful. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Abby emerges transformed after passing through the refining fires of a tumultuous time.
*My thanks to the publisher and LitFuse for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 5 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Pulling Joy From the Ruins

Date:June 12, 2014
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Tammi
Location:maine
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Out of the Ruins is the first book in The Golden Gate Chronicles which is set in San Francisco in 1905. It was a time when new technology was beginning to replace horses and buggies with automobiles and the telephone was making in-roads into peoples homes. Doctors were gaining new knowledge, and experimented with new medical treatments to help their patients get well.
Abby Fischer was shy and preferred working with plants and trees rather than be around people. She didn't have any friends other than her sister and best friend, Cecelia. But, Cecelia had been diagnosed with leukemia, and was dying. Abby couldn't imagine living without her sister so she made a bargain with God, telling him that if he made her sister well she would serve him; but if he didn't, she wouldn't have anything to do with him. When Dr. Robert King, begins an experimental x-ray treatment on Cecelia, Abby believed that God was using Dr. King to heal her sister. Abby also was beginning to see Robert as a friend. However, the treatment didn't work out the way she thought it should. So, she stopped praying and turned her back on God, letting anger and bitterness take root. Her choice led her into misery, even though she believed it was all God's fault. She even pushed Robert away, blaming him for the failed treatments and her own unhappiness.
Robert King had a belief in God, but he believed that faith and prayer belonged in church on Sunday. During the week he put his faith in medical science. When he met Abby, he longed to be her knight in shining armor. Only God had other plans and he felt that he had failed Abby. He fell in love with her, but she wished that she had never met him.
All too soon San Francisco was struck by a devastating earthquake, and raging fires that destroyed much of what the earthquake left behind. During the subsequent days that followed, homelessness and hunger, separation and loneliness, as well as, danger caused both Abby and Robert to discover they couldn't fix things on their own. Will they see their own need for a savior? Will they turn to God for help, or will they continue to struggle and to face things on their own?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Out of the Ruins. The plot flowed well and I was drawn into the story. I enjoyed meeting the characters, walking with them through their grief and trials and watching them stretch and grow as they were faced with such hardship. I am looking forward to reading the next book in The Golden Gate Chronicles.
**Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett was provided for me free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 6 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

WILL THE PHOENIX ARISE FROM THESE ASHES?

Date:June 12, 2014
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barbjan10
Location:Arlington, TX
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Karen Barnett’s story is charged with high voltage emotion encircling factual detail of the historical San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Although the characters and story are fictional, the realism rings authentic. Be prepared to experience heart jerking responses during your tour through this shocking event. Expect to audibly gasp and feel the need to pray for the situations described as seen on a wide screen movie. This is a sensational writing.
We tune in on the Fischer family near San Jose, California at a difficult time. The eldest sister Cecelia suffers from leukemia with little hope of surviving, but younger sister Abby will not accept Cecelia’s pending death. She tries to make a deal with God, but quickly loses faith as He does not answer her prayer as demanded. When cousin Dr. Gerald Larkspur and his assistant Dr. Robert King arrive at the Fischer family orchard, Abby grabs onto hope when the doctors feel their new found cancer cure can help Cecelia. Consequently, the entire family, including little brother Davy travel the distance to San Francisco where Cecelia is hospitalized. The Fischer family stays with cousin Mae Larkspur in San Francisco. Mae is one of my favorite characters throughout this story, as she is loving, full of faith in God, and a teacher of the Word.
Prior to the doctor’s assessment of Cecelia’s situation, handsome Dr. Robert King, is taking a walk through the orchard and first meets Abby hanging upside down from a fruit tree. Nope, I am not explaining that! He becomes immediately and irrevocably attracted to Abby. Abby is a strong minded, strong willed, immature 19 year old who doesn’t understand the word “no” and God made boundaries. Is this a case of striking the obvious match? Could be!
Soon to experience unmeasurable sorrow, their lives are further disastrously turned to chaos when the infamous earthquake hits San Francisco. Ms. Barnett’s unique gift for description so vivid is one of her most favorable assets with the written word. Her story is uniquely imaginative based on real facts. She writes well of the longing of a romance interrupted by of all things, a major earthquake. I repeat, be prepared for many surprises and shocks as we follow Abby through her journey of searching for loved ones and meeting new acquaintances while San Francisco burns. Karen Barnett gives us a hint of human prejudice that remained existent even during tragedy. Some incidents are merciless, however plausible during such a time as this. God’s presence is there for all – will Abby find her way to Him in her journey? Will the Phoenix show it’s courageous head out of the ashes when the flames are gone?
Since this book is part of a trilogy, I am anxious to learn of who and what survived Out of the Ruins in the next two novels. I am certain it will be as exciting as this story. I see a remarkable future for this impressive writer.
I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Review 7 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

An interestingly set historical novel.

Date:June 10, 2014
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Kate
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I love historical fiction novels that offer a look into a time that isn't emphasized much. Out of the Ruins offered a wonderful glimpse into the beginning of the 20th century in San Fransisco where the world is starting to morph into the modern era that it is today.
Out of the Ruins seemed like it was two books in one. Part one focuses on the new medical technology of the time. Dr. Robert King and his mentor Dr. Gerald Larkspur have been working with radiation from the newly discovered X-ray technology to help battle cancers. It was interesting to see how this started the path to cancer treatments today, but reading how the radiation scales were tested on the doctor's themselves made me cringe. We know so much more about radiation now, but back then it was so new and unknown.
It was in this first part of the book we really get to know Abby. She is battling so much. She has a very weak faith and then she is handed her sisters diagnosis of leukemia, and she is forced to relocate so her sister can get the treatment she needs. As time goes on, she loses the only home she ever knew due to the medical bills her family has received. And finally, after much heartache and change, the great quake strikes the city and a massive fire sweeps through. She is lost.
The second part of the story is a story of survival and finding faith through the darkest of times. We see in this part of the story the quake and how quickly the fire decimates the city that has lost it's water supply. It a horrifying time for everyone there. I did kind of wish that the quake was shown in a little greater scale here, but the destruction that it produced started to unfurl as Abby made her way through the city.
I enjoyed how this story wasn't strictly a love story between Abby and Robert, I enjoyed that this is a story of finding faith. Everyone, I believe, has been in a place similar to Abby. The feeling of being alone, with no one who cares to watch out for you as you are thrown one hard ball after another. However, when offered a life raft for her pain through a journal from her aunt, she takes it and Abby starts to learn and grow.
I enjoyed the the background history and the main story of this book. I'm looking forward to the rest of The Golden Gate Chronicles.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 8 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Book

Date:May 28, 2014
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Wilani
Location:Franklin, NC
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wow! A great book. Historical fiction well done. I loved the spiritual message of the story and the lesson Abby eventually learns that God is always with us even when bad things happen. I loved the scripture verses woven into the book. I can't wait to read the second book in this series.
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Review 9 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Incredible story set to historical facts!

Date:May 22, 2014
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Heart2Heart
Location:Victorville, CA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
"God, I'll do anything. I'll be anything. Whatever You want - name it. Just make her better. And You'd better be listening God, because I'm going to make one last promise. If You dare take her away...I'll never speak to You again." (pg 16).
When Abby Fischer made that prayer to God as a promise to her sister Cecilia who was dying of leukemia, she believed God would send help. She never expected it would be in the arms of the man who would help her out of the tree she had crawled in to for her private prayer time. Dr. Robert King, is her cousin Gerald's assistant. Just when all hope is lost for a cure for Cecilia, Robert believes that the latest treatment involving X-rays may be the last option for helping to prolong her life. All of the previous treatments involving morphine and arsenic have failed to bring about the answer to prayer they have been searching for.
Now it seems as if God has indeed provided her with that answer. Armed with the latest textbooks that have shown that a researcher in Chicago discovered one of his cancer patients improved when he irradiated the tumors. Apparently, the radiation not only penetrates the body, it appears to target and kill cancerous cells specifically. Now they can only hope that Cecilia will be strong enough for the treatment to work. Ir could help her gain back some of vitality and provide more time for the treatment to eradicate the cancerous cells.
Yet what Robert and Gerald fear is that the family is making them into heroes and banking on the fact that the cure will work and Cecilia will be healed. But since this treatment is still only exploratory at best and still in the research phase they still don't know how much radiation or length of time she needs to be under the Xray machine. If they're not careful they could end up causing her more damage than healing. No matter how much they try and convey honest expectations to the family and Cecilia, Abby believes God is going to answer their prayer. Only time will tell and it may be that time will be their worst enemy as the great earthquake from 1906 prepares to rock the city.
I received Out of the Ruins from Karen Barnett compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. This is such a great novel based on the two fold research that went into its creation. From the background on medical practices of the early 1900's to the unfolding of the tragic earthquake that devastated San Francisco in 1906. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. I found myself relating quite a bit to Abby. While she has such a profound love for her sister, she is still weak in her faith and believes prayer is simply a wish list for God to answer. She will have her faith tested in the direst of circumstances when she finds herself all alone in a city while her family remains lost in the multitude attempting to escape the ruins of San Francisco and find safety. She learns that God never leaves us in the midst of our circumstances but walks faithfully by our side from beginning to end. This is the first novel in the Golden Gate Chronicles and I can't wait to see what lies in store in the next novel. I loved this one and can easily give it a 5 out of 5 stars.
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Review 10 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Loved the Historical Detail

Date:May 19, 2014
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weatherlover1
Location:U.P Mi
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
3.5 Stars
Abby’s sister is fighting a losing battle with leukemia. When her cousin suggests a new treatment might work her family jumps at the chance and make the trip to San Francisco. Months pass and Abby’s sister does not survive. Abby had grown to care for Robert who was her cousins right hand man, but when her sister dies she blames him and God. As she is dealing with the grief of her sister’s death the 1906 earthquake hits and the city and her family is thrown into chaos. Can Abby get her faith in God back as well as find love?
This book sounded very interesting. I didn't know a lot about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and found it quite fascinating. This is a very well written historical account of what living through a horrible disaster would be like.
What I liked: Learning about the medical science of the time was really interesting to me. Plus throwing into the mix the earthquake made for a fascinating historical read. I really felt I got a feeling for what it would have been like there when it was happening. I also thought the plot was interesting. Dealing with the death of a loved one and why God allows is a challenging subject.
What I did not like: While the plot and historical aspect of the story were quite good the characters lacked. It almost felt like the author was telling the story of the earthquake and added the characters into it. They just did not seem to mesh together. The story seemed to drag on even though the last half of the book only covers a few days. The romance between Abby and Robert also seemed flat.
Overall this was not a bad book I did enjoy reading it I just did not love it. I really enjoyed reading about the x-ray machine and how it was being used in 1906. The earthquake and what the city went through after the earthquake was devastating. It was hard to imagine the scope of the fires that broke out. I do plan to read the next book when it comes out. I hope that now that the framework for the series has been established there will be a better love story. If you enjoy historical fiction I say add this book to your read list. The historical details were outstanding.
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Review 11 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

God's provision amidst tragedy

Date:May 15, 2014
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ConnieR
Location:ME
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
With her first book, Mistaken, Karen Barnett moved close to the top 10 of my favorite authors. With this book she has firmly established her position there. I have found her books to be thought-provoking in their historic settings, causing me to become more interested in the time periods she is writing about. I liken her depth of setting to two other favorites, Jane Kirkpatrick and Lisa T. Bergren.
Out of the Ruins introduces us to Abby Fischer and her family at a critical point in time. Abby's sister has cancer and the family has chosen to travel to San Francisco to put the young woman into the hands of her doctor cousin and his assistant, who are experimenting with radiation as a treatment for cancer.
I love the development of the relationships in this book, both among the major characters, and also the little side stories such as Abby meeting a group of Chinese girls and the missionary who provided for the girls. I look forward to Book 2 in this series!
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Review 12 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Exciting and Intriguing

Date:May 13, 2014
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Regina Jennings
Location:Oklahoma
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Out of the Ruins
From the optimism of medical breakthroughs to the tragedy of the great San Francisco earthquake and fire, Out of the Ruins immerses the reader in the hopes and fears of unforgettable turn-of-the-century characters.
Abby Fischer needs a miracle. Her sister Cecelia doesn't have long to live but an experimental treatment with the new X-Ray machine might be the answer. The quest to save Cecelia's life will push Abby into the path of Dr. Robert King and into the middle of one of the greatest disasters of California history.
Fast-paced action and meticulous research make this book shine.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.)
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Review 13 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Beauty from Ashes

Date:May 6, 2014
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oregonheidi
Location:Oregon
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I’ve just finished reading Out of the Ruins, the first book in Karen Barnett’s series, The Golden Gate Chronicles. Having enjoyed her first novel, Mistaken so much, I was eager to read more of her work. And I was not disappointed!
Whereas the author’s first novel struck me as more of a romantic suspense, Out of the Ruins tends more toward historical romance. If you like history, you’ll be fascinated, witnessing 1905-06 San Francisco—the west coast’s brightest star— fall to ruin. The ingenuity and tenacity of the survivors made me wish I’d been born in that day.
Laura, the main character, walks a very bumpy road with God. Her sister dies, leaving Laura to work her way through the stages of grief. She hangs on to her anger, holding it up as a shield against God’s love. She’d prayed desperately for her sister’s healing. How could He betray her? Many of us have questioned—or even rejected—God’s answer to our prayers.
This novel addresses the steady path to healing as Laura discovers her own inner strength, blazing a trail back to trust and love, and ultimately, her faith in God. The author’s crisp writing make this a journey you don’t want to miss.
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Review 14 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead

Date:May 5, 2014
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Iola
Location:New Zealand
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
It is 1905 San Jose, California, and Abigail Fischer's sister, Cecelia, is dying of leukaemia when their doctor cousin offers the opportunity to try an experimental treatment—X-rays. The family moves to San Francisco to support Cecelia during her treatment, which cousin Gerard leaves largely to his partner, Dr Robert King. Robert is attracted to Abigail, but faces the ethical issue of dating the relative of a patient, a patient who is also the beloved relation of his friend and partner.
I very much enjoyed Karen Barnett's debut novel, Mistaken, and the first portion of Out of the Ruins is as good, if not better. It has the same excellent attention to historical detail, robust plot, authentic characters and addresses one of the core 'problems' of the Christian faith: why does God allow His people to suffer? This is Abby’s central conflict:
‘“If You take her away, I’ll never speak to You again.”’
The historical context, such as the doctors testing the X-rays on themselves, was fascinating—particularly given what we now know about the dangers of excessive doses of radiation. The research around the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was also excellent, as were the descriptions of the efforts to contain the resulting fires.
However, I thought Out of the Ruins wasn’t as good as Mistaken, because the story is less cohesive. At first, it's the story of Cecelia's illness and treatment, then it turns into a story of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Both stories have merit, but they don't necessarily hold together properly, partly because there is a gap of several months between the two sections.
It felt as though a lot of the action around the earthquake was simply to display the situation, as there was little character development from Abigail during this section, and even less from Robert. I think Into the Whirlwind (Elizabeth Camden's story set amidst the 1871 Chicago fire) did a much better job of integrating the character development into the disaster plot.
The story takes another segue in the aftermath of the earthquake, when Abby is given the diary of a great aunt and begins to read it. Abby and Mae share some similar experiences, and it's obvious the diary is going to be instrumental in bringing Abby back to God after her earlier declaration that she's never going to talk to Him again. It's a little convenient, bordering on contrived. We believe God heals, yet also have to acknowledge that not everyone who prays for healing experiences release from their symptoms. Why not? It's a hard question, one that Out of the Ruins skirts around but, in my view, fails to adequately address.
This is the first of a new series, The Golden Gate Chronicles. Will I read the next book? Yes, because I can see the original plot and solid writing that made Mistaken such an outstanding debut. And the earthquake has happened now, so hopefully future books in the series will focus on building strong characters in the unpredictable aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
The writing was excellent, the characters showed potential and the plot had the potential to be fascinating, but overall, it just didn’t deliver for me.
Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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Review 15 for Out of the Ruins, Golden Gate Chronicles Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:May 2, 2014
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lcjohnson1988
Location:Indiana
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This first book in the Golden Gate Chronicles is set in San Francisco in 1905. It is a time when horse and buggy via for the road with cars and the telephone is invading homes. Medical science has made strides, but is still limited in treatment options for certain health issues.
Abby Fischer has no friends other than her sister Cecelia. They share a very close sisterly bond. Abby is shy and would rather work with plants and trees than be around people. Abby makes a bargain with God, one of those “If you’ll do this, then I’ll do this” type bargains. Abby pins all her hope on Dr. Robert King, putting him on a pedestal. However, things do not work out the way Abby thinks they should so she stops praying to God, stops going to church and stews in her anger toward Him. She lets the anger take root and turn to bitterness. She is unhappy and miserable by her own choice, even though she thinks God at fault. She keeps Robert at a distance, blaming him for her unhappiness.
Robert King believes in God, but puts his prayer life and faith on the shelf during the week, taking it out only on Sunday at church. The remainder of the week he puts his faith in science. Then, he meets Abby and longs to be her knight in shining armor. Only the task before him is beyond human capability and he fails Abby. He has come to love her, but she wants nothing to do with him.
Disaster strikes soon after in the form of an earthquake with subsequent raging fires that destroy much if not more than the quake. Through the two days of homelessness, danger, hunger, separation and loneliness Abby and Robert each discover they can’t fix things on their own. They are only human and have limits. Will they turn to the One who is limitless in their time of suffering and great need?
I thought the author did a great job of describing the devastation and turmoil after the earthquake. I felt like I was right there on the scene. My favorite character was Aunt Mae. Her words of wisdom were from the heart of her own experiences. I also liked the addition of the Chinese element in the story and hope that will be explored more in the next book in the series, which I plan to read. I think this is a good beginning to an interesting series.
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