Genre: FF Romance
Title: Shaken to the Core
Release Date: 1 June 2016
This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Kate Winthrop, the only child of a wealthy shipping magnate, has the course of her life charted for her by her parents. She’s expected to marry well and produce a successor to the Winthrop empire. But Kate has a very different path in mind. Her true passion lies with photography—and with women.
Alone in the city after losing her brother, Sicilian immigrant Giuliana Russo starts working for the Winthrops as a maid. Despite their different social status, Kate and Giuliana become friends, much to the dismay of Kate’s parents.
As the connection between the two women grows, a devastating earthquake hits San Francisco and ignites fires that sweep through the city for three days and nights.
Will the disaster shatter their tentative feelings for each other, or will they find the courage to save each other’s lives—and their hearts?
Join Kate and Giuliana on a journey of danger and discovery in the action-packed historical romance Shaken to the Core, set against the backdrop of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
What I Liked:
I haven’t read lesbian romance novel in a while, so when this one popped up on NetGalley, I wanted to read it right away! Thankfully, I got approved and I’m happy to say that I liked this book even more than I was expecting too.
This story is so sweet. Kate and Giuliana are both young (early 20’s) and innocent. They have an instant attraction, but don’t quite understand their fascination with one another (Though Kate does have an inkling about what’s going on). Their new friendship is complicated even further by the fact that Giuliana is the new maid in Kate’s household and they are from very different social classes. The first 40% of the book set ups their growing friendship and romantic feelings for each other. And then, the earthquake hits.
I live in California and have experienced several earthquakes, the largest being the Northridge quake in 1994. That was measured at a 6.7. The estimated measure of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is 7.8! And the worst of the damage and death wasn’t even caused by the quake but by the fire that broke out afterward. I’ll admit that before this book, I didn’t really know much about the 1906 earthquake other than it happened and it was bad, but I’m very interested now to learn about the real history of this disaster.
I stayed up reading all night because I couldn’t put this book down! After the beginning introduction bit, the action is non-stop. Kate and Giuliana race all around the city, helping others and trying to get to safety. You can see the fragile bond that they have become stronger as they fight for survival.
I also loved the Kate and Giuliana seemed more like modern women and not historical damsels in distress. Giuliana is clever and able to find a job on her own, even though she can’t read the paper to find want ads by herself. Kate is wealthy, but she is not idle and has a passion for photography. Her dream is to work as a newspaper photographer. She also knows how to drive and automobile. Lucy, who becomes a friend to them both during the book, is a skilled and well-trained doctor. It was great to see these women from different situations all be shown as smart and capable, which can be sadly difficult to find in historical romance novels.
What I Didn’t:
Kate’s mother was especially frustrating to me. She was a rich snob who only thought of herself and her family’s well being. I understand that. I just feel that in disaster situations, people tend to grow beyond being so selfish. It is hard to not hate a characters who is constantly upset and complaining when they should just be thankful that they are alive!
My warning for this book is that it doesn’t pull any punches with the horrible details of the disaster and aftermath. While nothing gruesome is describe in depth, there is talk of lots of death, dead bodies (both crushed and burned), hospitals, amputation, blood, people getting shot, and more. This book is a romance, but it is also very much and action story.
I really enjoyed this book. The setting, characters, and historical details were all nicely thought out and brought to life. I liked how the sweetness and innocence of the romance contrasted to the harsh brutality of the earthquake and fire. This is a fairly clean romance, and I would say that it is definitely appropriate for a YA audience. I would highly recommend this book. This is the first book that I’ve read by the author Jae, but it is certainly not the last!
My Rating: 4/5