Through the Shadows by Karen Barnett

Through the Shadows


Before I finished my very first novel by Karen Barnett, I knew I had found yet another author whose books I must have. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to review them so far but I can assure you that if I happen to miss out on a blog tour, I will definitely purchase anything she pens. “Through the Shadows” met all my expectations and more.

The third book of Barnett’s Golden Gate Chronicles series, “Through the Shadows” takes place two years after the great San Francisco earthquake. The city is beginning to rebuild but many people have lost everything and the rich seem to get richer at their expense. Political corruption is rampant and an evil human slavery trade takes advantage of the innocents among the Asian community. It is to this volatile environment that young lawyer Charles McKinley comes to his uncle’s law practice because he wants to help others. Unfortunately his noble ambitions are squashed by the realities of his new job. Elizabeth King has also recently arrived in San Francisco hoping to atone for her mistakes by helping in a mission to the young rescued Chinese girls.

I loved this book! Elizabeth is just the kind of character I like – one who fights for the oppressed without a thought of her own danger, loving and loyal to those she cares for, yet fragile and wounded in spirit. Charles is the perfect hero also. He has such fine ambitions to help others and even when things do not go as planned, he always takes the high road. Working without sleep to prove himself worthy, he turned the other cheek time and again to those who wanted to undermine him and went out of his way to protect and serve those who needed him.

It was a joy to catch up with Elizabeth’s brother and sister as well as their spouses from the first two books of this series. Other familiar characters played important roles also. With plenty of drama, danger, misunderstandings, romance, and suspense, “Through the Shadows” held my attention through the end. It is a fine story of forgiveness and reconciliation plus learning to see ourselves the way the Lord sees us and accept his plans for us.

I am sorry to see this series end but I look forward to whatever Karen Barnett has in store for her readers next. I can’t wait!

A copy of this book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.

As San Francisco rises from the ashes, an age-old battle looms between corruption and the promise of new beginnings.

The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome-and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King’s hopeful future.

Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.

Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable. But opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney, Charles McKinley—a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco’s crooked politics—Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Karen BarnettKaren Barnett is the author of “Beyond the Ashes,” “Out of the Ruins,” and “Mistaken.” Named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers, Karen lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. When she’s not writing novels, she loves speaking at women’s events, libraries, and book clubs.

Find out more about Karen at


Enter to win a copy of Through the Shadows—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced June 7th on Karen’s blog!


Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett

Beyond the Ashes


 After reading the first book in Karen Barnett’s The Golden Gate Chronicles, I have eagerly anticipated  “Beyond the Ashes”. I love most genres of Christian fiction but Historical novels hold a special place in my heart and books like Karen’s fuel the fire (no pun intended).

When this story begins, San Francisco is in the process of rebuilding after its devastating earthquake. Many are still homeless and live in government provided huts in city parks. Doctors Gerald Larkspur and Robert King have continued their research into cancer treatment with radiation. Although they have seen some positive effects, none of their patients have survived and apparently Gerald has suffered a severe burn from the x-ray equipment they use.

Robert’s older sister Ruby has been alone for two years after the death of her husband in an accident. Encouraged by her cousin and good friend to find something useful to do, Ruby decides to face her fears, leave her home in Sacramento, and go to San Francisco to use her nursing training to help those in need. Ruby is not prepared for what she finds when she reaches San Francisco, especially the attraction she feels for her brother’s partner.

I thoroughly enjoyed every page of “Beyond the Ashes”. The early history of radiation treatment for cancer was eye-opening  considering how much we take it for granted now. Details about the organized recovery efforts after the earthquake were also of interest and made me wonder if today’s population would work together as well if faced with a similar disaster.

I enjoyed spending time again with Robert, Gerald, Abby, and their families from “Out of the Ruins” and loved getting to know Ruby and Patrick and hope to see more of them and the rest in the next novel. Ruby was stronger than she realized and proved that fact in the way she took on challenges many women would not even consider. Her beauty and her caring heart won her more than one admirer but only one of them threatened to capture her lonely heart. I did get a bit aggravated with Gerald’s determination to ignore his injury for so long and his refusal to allow Robert to treat it before it became so serious.

“Beyond the Ashes” is a wonderful book with a strong theme of turning your future and your dreams over to the Lord. I very much recommend it as well as “Out of the Ruins”. Can’t wait for book three in this series.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.


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?

Learn more and purchase a copy.


Karen BarnettKaren Barnett is the author of “Beyond the Ashes,” “Out of the Ruins,” and “Mistaken.” Named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers, Karen lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. When she’s not writing novels, she loves speaking at women’s events, libraries, and book clubs.

Find out more about Karen at

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

Surprised By Love


I have been a reader of Julie Lessman’s books since the very first and have always enjoyed them. “Surprised by Love” came as no surprise to me. It contained the same skillfully crafted plot and characters as each of her earlier novels. Julie has a way of making her readers part of the series family and I for one do not want to miss a minute of their lives.

“Surprised by Love” features Megan, the sweet but retiring McClare daughter whose year in France transformed her into a young woman even her own family did not recognize. She quickly realized that her feelings for her longtime supporter Bram had grown into love but she also found herself pursued by Devin, her tormentor from school days. Another romantic triangle continues within these pages with Megan’s mother Cait, her uncle Logan, and Andrew Turner.

It is always fun to catch up with what is happening in the lives of the primary characters of the previous novels in a series and “Surprised by Love” indulges me in that respect. In fact, the entire series could be one continuing novel except for the change in primary characters in each one. A novel with emotional highs and lows, ample drama, some unexpected twists, and of course romance, “Surprised by Love” is certain to make all Julie Lessman fans happy readers for a few all-too-short hours.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.


She can turn the head of the man who spurned her–but can she turn his heart?

When Megan McClare left San Francisco to study in Paris, no one would accuse her of being poised and pretty. But on the other side of the Atlantic, this wallflower blossomed into a beauty with big dreams. When she returns to California and accepts an internship at the district attorney’s office, she’s thrilled that her life is taking shape. But the exciting opportunity quickly loses its glow when she discovers she’ll be working alongside Devin Caldwell, who mercilessly mocked her at school–and with whom she was hopelessly enamored.

Bram Hughes is the best friend to whom Megan has always turned for support and advice. But when she seeks his counsel about working with Devin Caldwell, Bram’s vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a little sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

Author Julie Lessman draws a romantic triangle that will touch your heart in this glittering Gilded Age tale of transforming love.


Julie LessmanJulie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series, the Winds of Change series, and The Heart of San Francisco series. The recipient of seventeen Romance Writers of America and other awards, Lessman was chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards. She resides in Missouri with her family. Learn more at

Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett


What a great book! Characters were so well defined that they practically stepped off the page. I loved the authors unique descriptions and her deft blending of romance and history. I felt like I had a new understanding of early cancer treatment and x-ray technology as well as the absolute horror experienced by thousands during the great San Francisco earthquake. And in the midst of the mesmerizing story, I got a well thought out lesson in faith. I enjoyed reading about the x-ray treatments but kept wanting to tell them they shouldn’t expose themselves to it so much!

Heroine Abby has experienced so much heartbreak in such as short period of time. Her prayers seem to have been ignored and she has decided that God just doesn’t care and is convinced her prayers do not matter. In fact, she is probably more than a bit angry at Him. When Dr. Robert King enters the picture, Abby pins her hope for her sister’s recovery on him and his revolutionary treatment. When things don’t go as planned, Abby’s disappointment and anger is also directed at Robert. Only as hope seems dim and Abby sees answered prayer does she finally realize that God does not always answer prayer the way we want but that He still cares and wants the best for us.

I thought Robert was the perfect hero. He had just enough flaws to make him down-to-earth but was also sensitive, caring, and had integrity. The romance between Abby and Robert was paced well and had enough ups and downs to keep it realistic.

Absolutely loved “Out of the Ruins” and cannot wait for the rest of the Golden Gate Chronicles series.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.


Out of the RuinsOut of the Ruins | The Golden Gate Chronicles, Book 1

Abby’s shattered faith in both God and man is challenged when the terrible earthquake hits 1906 San Francisco.

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?

Learn more and purchase a copy at Karen’s website.


Karen BarnettKaren Barnett is the author of “Mistaken” and several articles that have been published by “Guideposts” and other national magazines. She lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and three cats. @KarenMBarnett

Find out more about Karen at

Enter to win a Kindle HDX & RSVP for 6/19 Facebook Party!

Don’t miss the debut book, Out of the Ruins, in Karen Barnett‘s new series, The Golden Gate Chronicles. Set against the backdrop of early 20th century San Francisco, Out of the Ruins will remind readers that no matter who we are or what we’ve done, God is still as close to us as our next breath.

Karen is celebrating with a fun giveaway and Facebook author chat party.


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 19th. Winner will be announced at the Out of the Ruins Facebook author chat party on June 19th. Connect with Karen for an evening of fun book chat, games, and prizes. Karen will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in The Golden Gate Chronicles series!

So grab your copy of Out of the Ruins and join Karen on the evening of June 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!

Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman


Book two in Julie Lessman’s The Heart of San Francisco series, “Dare to Love Again” once again provides the reader with an emotional yet satisfying story with memorable characters. Featuring Allison McClare who played a supporting role in “Love at Any Cost”, this installment introduces dashing Nick Barone as her potential love interest. Both characters are admired and loved by almost everyone but for some reason they cannot seem to get along at all. In my experience that is usually an indicator that a major romance is in store for the reader.

Allison, whose heart has been broken one too many times, has dedicated herself to helping the less fortunate. She is also quite determined to be independent but her quest for independence seems to lead her into all sorts of dangerous situations. Hired by Allison’s uncle Logan to protect her, Nick finds himself gradually won over by her genuine care for others and her zest for life. As the two are forced to spend time together, their friendship blossoms with possibilities. Is it possible for them to learn to depend on God once again and let him heal the wounds from their past so that there is hope for the future?

Once again Julie Lessman has come through with a delightful book that kept me thoroughly engrossed. At times the humor had me laughing but at other times the characters’ pain gained my sympathy. Perhaps as the author stated, “Dare to Love Again” may not be as passionate as some of her previous novels, but the romantic tension was nevertheless quite evident. Julie Lessman has proved to be a gifted author and I look forward to anything she has to offer her readers in the future. Hoping for more about other members of the LeClare family soon.


This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Dare To Love AgainShe’s a sassy socialite burned by love. He’s a jaded cop burned by the upper class.
When sparks fly . . . will love catch fire again?

Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast, she quickly discovers she’s no match for the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has little choice. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But is he just a fraud like all the rest of the men Allison’s cared for? Or is he the one who will let her dare to love again?

Award-winning author Julie Lessman brings the glamour of Gilded Age San Francisco to vibrant life in this journey to find a love that never fails.


“With memorable characters and an effervescent plot that’s as buoyant as it is entertaining, Dare to Love Again is Julie Lessman at her zestful best.”–Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of A Lasting Impression and To Whisper Her Name 

“Nobody pens a more splendid romance than Julie! The expert on dazzling dialogue, engaging characters, and wonderful romantic plots with a twist wins my heart over every time.”–Maggie Brendan, author of Heart of the West and The Blue Willow Brides series

“Julie’s ability to thread romance and longing, deception and forgiveness, and lots of humor are unparalleled by anyone else in the Christian market today.”–Rachel McRae, LifeWay Stores

Julie LessmanJulie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series and the Winds of Change series and was ACFW’s 2009 Debut Author of the Year. Voted #1 Romance Author of the year in the Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards, Julie was also on Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction list and is the recipient of fifteen RWA awards. Learn more about Julie and her books HERE.

In Golden Splendor by Michael Reynolds

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In Golden Splendor
• B&H Books (July 15, 2013)
Michael Reynolds

Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copy writing, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.

Learn more about Michael and his books on his Website.


Irish immigrant Seamus Hanley is a lost soul, haunted by his past as a U.S. Army deserter and living alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in 1849. But after witnessing a deadly stage coach crash, he finds purpose in the scattered wreckage — a letter with a picture of a beautiful and captivating woman named Ashlyn living in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush.
Moved by her written plea for help, he abandons all and sets out on an epic journey across the wild and picturesque American frontier. While being pursued by those who want to hang him, Seamus encounters fascinating characters including a young Pauite Indian who makes the ultimate sacrifice in helping Seamus to cross the snowy Yosemite Valley.

Battered but changed for the better, Seamus reaches San Francisco on Christmas Eve as the city burns in the tragic fire of 1849. But there is little time for rest, as an even greater, more harrowing adventure involving Ashlyn is about to begin.

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Golden Splendor, go HERE



In Golden Splendor is the second novel in Michael Reynolds’ The Heirs of Ireland series that features members of the Hanley family. Although Seamus is the primary character in this installment, other members of the family are featured to varying degrees.

It took me a few chapters to get into the story but once the groundwork was laid, I was along for the ride to the very end. The narrative contained a perfect blend of adventure, danger, suspense, romance and interesting historical facts. I love the way I learned new things while enjoying a good tale. Strong characters and a credible plot kept the story moving right along and the secrets of several characters were revealed at just the right time. Most important was the strong Christian theme that emphasized that no one is past God’s forgiveness and to just trust Him when everything seems to be impossible.

I recommend both In Golden Splendor and the first book in the series, “Flight of the Earls” and am looking forward to the final novel “Songs of the Shenandoah”, scheduled for publication in January 2013.