After the 1906 Earthquake, recent widow Ruby Marshall moves to San Francisco to help her brother, physician Robert King, with his cancer research and in the camps for the homeless in Golden Gate Park. Dr. Gerald Larkspur, Robert’s partner, is certain his work with X-rays will bring healing to the suffering, but failures with his patients make him doubt himself. However, Ruby and Gerald’s budding romance is tested when Gerald begins developing mysterious symptoms. How can she risk losing her heart again?
With solid research, Karen Barnett brings 1906 San Francisco to life – the ruins, the refugees, the camps, and the rebuilding. Gerald and Ruby are characters you feel for, burdened by fears and failures – yet reaching for life and hope. Beyond the Ashes also explores the fascinating history of the early cancer researchers, and their frustrations and dangers. This is a wonderful, romantic read with a fresh feel and top-notch writing. While this is the second book in the Golden Gate Chronicles, it does stand alone. However, I also highly recommend the first book, Out of the Ruins.