Returning to US history after a break from her ‘Oregon’ series Shaken to the Core is a romance set around the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. From introducing our heroines before disaster hits, through the horror of the earthquake and subsequent fires, and on to the immediate aftermath, Jae leads us through the events that unfolded with her usual brilliant eye for detail and excellent storytelling skills.
Giuliana is a Sicilian fisherman’s daughter who came to ‘Merica with her brother in order to earn a living and send money home. When fate strikes her brother down she is left with few skills and few options other than domestic service to survive on her own.
Kate is the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate who is determined to make her own way in the modern world. Despite her mothers best efforts to make her conform to the expectations of high society, Kate knows in her soul she needs an independent life if she is ever to fulfil her own dreams.
Two strong women from opposite ends of the social scale, drawn together by a mutual attraction, find themselves fighting to survive the events of April 18th. They, along with the indomitable Dr Lucy Hamilton Sharpe, create an intriguing story of how women step up when disaster strikes. Resourceful, capable and determined, they fight their way through whatever is thrown at them, growing stronger as they overcome, finding their place from the opportunity catastrophe brings resourceful survivors.
As always Jae’s characters are powerful women with a will of their own. Rounded and well drawn they form the core of an intriguing retelling of history from a woman’s point of view. As with the Oregon Series we learn the intimate history of a famous and well-known saga from the inside.
With subtle but commanding attention to detail Jae fills in the background; the unfolding events, the backdrop of turn of the century San Francisco, the people and the sense of emotion that a major disaster cause. She shows us the world as she envisions it, like a film set being slowly revealed, filling in and colouring as she goes.
Jae writes exceptionally good books and this is another excellent example of her skills. Charming romance, strong, admirable women, an unusual setting, great historical storytelling and, as always, with a style which makes the tale unfold with consummate ease.
(publisher review copy received)
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