It seems that lately I am jumping into series of books in the middle of the series, and with Beyond the Ashes by Karen Barnett, I did it again. I have to say that the book stands well alone. While some of the characters were featured in the previous book in the series, it didn't feel as though I was jumping into the middle of a conversation, and I didn't feel as though I was missing something.
Recently, I watched a Ken Burns series called, "Cancer, the Emperor of Maladies." The series went back to the early ages of radiation therapies for cancer and the dangers the early pioneers faced in using radiation. I have cancer. I don't talk about it much because I don't wish to bore the populace about it. I will gladly answser questions about my condition, my treatments, and how my condition places limits on me. Just ask!
Ruby is a widow and a nurse needing a change of scenery, so she moves from Sacramento to San Francisco where her brother is soon to be married, and where the city is suffering the after-effects of the earthquake that tore it to shreds. She finds her brother and his fiancee, Abby, living with his partner in his medical research. His partner, Dr Gerald Larkspur, shuffles things around in his home to make room for Ruby, and at the same time shuffles his heart around to make room for her too. Ruby begins working at the hospital with her brother and Gerald, and accompanies Abby to the shanty-town area to treat the homeless because of the earthquake. Abby's mother and Gerald's mother are also living in the house and spend their time in the kitchen trying to outdo each other in the sweets making department.
Ruby is estranged from God when she arrives in San Francisco, but Gerald's gentle ways re-introduce her to God and helps her faith to grow. In the meantime, Patrick shows up on the scene with his own interest in Ruby. He's the minister to the shanty-town people and it's easy for him to fall for Ruby's generous, servant's heart. Ruby has to decide which man truly holds her heart.
There are moments in this book that make you want to cry, moments that make you laugh, and moments that make you just say, "Awwwwwww." This is definitely a five star, two thumbs up, and a piece of cake kind of book.
My thanks to Abingdon Press for allowing me to read and review this book.