Reviewed by Charity Lyman
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. It helps me escape to a time very different from my own, and I always enjoy seeing how much our world has evolved. One author who has always provided me with an intriguing historical story to jump into is Karen Barnett. Her latest series, The Golden Gate Chronicles, take the reader back to San Francisco, California during the devastating 1906 earthquake and the difficult period that followed. We get to see this thriving town fall down and then rebuild with new dreams and ambitions.
The third installment in the series, Through the Shadows, mainly focuses on Elizabeth King and Charles McKinley. Elizabeth is a young lady who made a poor decision in her past–one she deeply regrets and now strives to make penance for. We don’t find out exactly what happened all at once, but her guilt forces her to try and change the lives of the young Chinese girls who are stuck in brothels and caught up in the shadowy world of prostitution.
Charles McKinley is an ambitious lawyer who yearns to aid Elizabeth in her mission work, but is stuck in a hard place himself. Charles’ uncle is pressuring him to become the best lawyer in San Francisco and believes he shouldn’t lower himself to help the Chinese girls. The only problem? If Elizabeth comes forward and reveals the truth about her past, Charles may lose all interest in her. But she can’t continue deceiving him either. Charles has to decide whether he will give in to demands others have of him, or follow the dreams he has for himself.
Both of the main characters are dealing with guilt in different ways and yet, struggling over the same issues. Barnett pens characters who are fleshed out and quickly draw the reader in. I will admit, I saw a little bit of myself in Elizabeth King. As to the history, I loved learning about the Cameron House Mission and while it was started back in the 1800’s for the Chinese-Americans, it plays a big part in this story as well. And yes, I went and researched it to find out how much of the book was true to fact!
This third installment is an excellent one and I find myself sad to see the chapter close for the King family and their friends. I am definitely excited to see what Barnett brings to the table next!
Charity lives in Illinois and is the oldest of 6 children. The family also has 3 dogs and a cat. Reading is a hobby when not cooking, baking, sewing or enjoying music. She reads many different genres but Christian fiction is a favorite. Charity can be found often at her blog, Giveaway Lady.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Abingdon Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.