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?

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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