I just need to start off this review by saying – reading this one had a twofold purpose. First off, several of my favorite authors endorsed this one. Having met and received feedback from a few of them, I value their opinions – so I was excited to read this story. Second, I’ve been researching the San Francisco earthquake for a new story concept and so I wanted to see how someone else portrayed the event. So anyways… on with my thoughts.
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?
I love the fact that I learn something new when I read historical fiction. Maybe that’s just the history-nut in me, but I had no idea that using radiation to fight cancer came out of X-ray technology. Mind-blown. Maybe you’ll appreciate this bit of history, maybe you won’t. Still, this story has a lot to offer.
The storyline between Robert and Abby is very sweet, nesting itself in the sad reality that sometimes life has rotten timing. Our dreams don’t always have their beginnings or their fruition in perfect circumstances. The two have great chemistry – though I was hoping for a few more shared scenes where they really get to know one another. But understandably – Abby’s grief and an earthquake get in the way a bit.
The structure though! I need to get into the structure of the story for a bit. So perfect for what I was hoping to read as I do my own research.
The bulk of the story is built around dates, specifically times. It has that “minute by minute” feel as Barnett walks you through the events of the San Francisco earthquake and how the characters experienced it. Most of the arc actually takes place over only a few days in the wake of the event. But it works. It really does. Especially because, I don’t know if you’ve ever been through a traumatic event, but stress bonds people. Chaos brings people together in interesting ways, and you’ll see that as Out of the Ruins unfolds.
I will be curious to see how Barnett grows as a writer. Her concept was great. The research – fantastic, not over or underdone. The romance was sweet, though I think there was room for more development. Only the dialogue was somewhat lackluster, but the story more than makes up for it. Well worth the read.