A Splendid Ruin

Lake Union: Amazon. Jan. 2021. 348p. ISBN 9781542022392. pap. $14.95. F
May Kimble knows she should feel fortunate to be welcomed to San Francisco by her wealthy aunt and her family after May’s mother’s sudden death, but she soon has reason to fear that not everyone in her new life has her best interests at heart. When a dastardly betrayal places everything May possesses in jeopardy, the catastrophic 1906 earthquake gives her an unexpected opportunity to save herself. May and her unlikely allies race to get back everything she’s lost while navigating the ruins of the devastated city. Veteran historical fiction author Chance (An Inconvenient Wife; Inamorata) blends a compelling story of family secrets with a riveting disaster narrative describing the earthquake and its aftermath. The depictions of both May’s social life in high society San Francisco and the disaster are absorbing and well researched, and May is a heroine with grit who believably transforms from a naive victim to a determined and resourceful problem-solver.
VERDICT A thoroughly enjoyable read highly recommended for fans of Suzanne Rindell, Melanie Benjamin, and Greer MacAllister.
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