Book Review: Awake Unto Me by: Kathleen Knowles


Bold Strokes Books

Publish Date:
January 17, 2012

From Publisher for Review

Trade Paperback

Order From: Barnes & Noble / Amazon / Bold Strokes Books

In turn of the century San Francisco, two young women fight for love in a world where women are often invisible and passion is the privilege of the powerful.

Kerry O’Shea always handled what life threw at her. Growing up on San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, schooled in the streets by her con-man father, she fights to make a place for herself as a cook in the Palace Hotel. Escaping her roots made her plenty tough, but when she meets Beth Hammond, none of her street smarts matters. It's love at first sight, but how can such a love ever be possible?

Beth Hammond is every bit as strong as Kerry and proves it when she talks her domineering father into allowing her to study nursing. Drawn to Kerry in ways she doesn't understand, Beth fears the terrible secret she hides could destroy their relationship before it can even begin.

Review: It's almost the turn of the century in San Francisco when Kerry O'Shea and Beth Hammond meet. Kerry's a wharf rat - the daughter of a whore and a con man - who helps her father crimp sailors. Beth is the daughter of shopkeepers who think she should be seen and not heard. Kerry moves in with Dr. Addison Grant and his wife Laura after her father dies because Dr. Grant made her father a promise years before. Beth leaves home to become a nurse after she sees the power they can wield. Kerry and Beth meet at a party thrown by the Grants for the graduating nursing students. For Kerry, it's love at first sight and Beth feels she may have made a friend for life. Life's events bring them closer together and farther apart over and over, but can they make it work together?

Awake Unto Me is a beautiful story of unexpected love triumphing over adversity and tragedy. I loved Kerry and her no-nonsense attitude and ability to stand up for herself. Growing up on the Barbary Coast she had to learn independence and strength from the earliest age. Her "family" was colorful, garish, and helped school her in the grittiness of real life. Beth's family, on the other hand, was stodgy, old-fashioned, and insular. Even though they had opposite upbringings, the feelings they share for each other are identical. Addison Grant was very supportive in a hands-off kind of way, but his wife Laura was a scheming brat. I seriously did not like her at all. Ms. Knowles has obviously and thoroughly researched life in San Francisco in the 1800/1900's. Exceptional writing and excellent characters fill Awake Unto Me with true emotion. 

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