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A Splendid Ruin
A spellbinding novel of dark family secrets and a young woman’s rise and revenge set against the backdrop of the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
The eve of destruction. After her mother’s death, penniless May Kimble lives a lonely life until an aunt she didn’t know existed summons her to San Francisco. There she’s welcomed into the wealthy Sullivan family and their social circle.
Initially overwhelmed by the opulence of her new life, May soon senses that dark mysteries lurk in the shadows of the Sullivan mansion. Her glamorous cousin often disappears in the night. Her aunt wanders about in a laudanum fog. And a maid keeps hinting that May is in danger. Trapped by betrayal, madness, and murder, May stands to lose everything, including her freedom, at the hands of those she trusts most.
Then, on an early April morning, San Francisco comes tumbling down. Out of the smoldering ruins, May embarks on a harrowing road to reclaim what is hers. This tragic twist of fate, along with the help of an intrepid and charismatic journalist, puts vengeance within May’s reach. But will she take it?
Praise for A Splendid Ruin:
“Megan Chance has done it again! A Splendid Ruin is an astonishing beautiful, richly imagined historical novel about class, betrayal, revenge, and the terrible choices a woman must sometimes make to survive in dangerous times. This is a spellbinding page-turner of a book, full of unexpected twists and turns, told in beautiful prose, and set against the devastating backdrop of the Great San Francisco earthquake. In it, Megan Chance gives us a profoundly intimate look at a city—and a woman—in ruins.”
—Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
“An impeccably researched, brilliantly plotted novel set in Gilded Age San Francisco, a city dripping with wealth yet rife with corruption. Enter May Kimble, a poor relation to the flashy Sullivan clan, who is at first overwhelmed by the generosity of her long-lost family, but must ultimately draw on her deepest strengths to solve the devious mystery at the heart of the book. A Splendid Ruin is twisty in the best of ways, with a story that you will devour.”
—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
“Somehow Megan Chance has stepped back in time and delivered a mesmerizing tale that will compel you to turn just one more page, to finish one more chapter as, along with the novel’s fascinating heroine, May Kimble, you try to learn the mystery at the heart of this powerful novel. San Francisco during the Gilded age has never been painted more lovingly or—during its devastating fire—more compassionately. An absorbing, tragic, heart-wrenching historical novel that [is] at once thought-provoking and ultimately so very satisfying. Brava!”
—M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of Cartier’s Hope
“A thoroughly engrossing historical thriller, full of secrets and surprises. May Kimble is the kind of heroine you can’t help but root for, and the San Francisco setting—from socialite balls to opium dens—is brought vividly to life, thanks to Chance’s impeccable research. If you want to know what it was like to live through the disastrous 1906 earthquake and its aftermath, read this book!” —Elizabeth Blackwell, author of Red Mistress and On a Cold Dark Sea
*Starred* "Chance blends a compelling story of family secrets with a riveting disaster narrative ... A thoroughly enjoyable read highly recommended for fans of Suzanne Rindell, Melanie Benjamin and Greer MacAllister."
"With a fascinating look at 1900s San Francisco, this historical gothic features a feisty woman-in-peril and a fast-paced story that will keep the reader turning pages."
Editors' Choice "... highly recommended and immersive ... a wonderful sense of menace: duplicitous characters, family secrets and cliff-hanger chapter endings. I read A Splendid Ruin in one sitting."
—Historical Novel Society
"A Splendid Ruin is an intriguing, absorbing, beautifully written tale by Chance that immerses you in another time and place and does a wonderful job of highlighting the lengths that one will go to for perceived power, societal acceptance, retribution, and survival."
—What's Better than Books
"(Megan Chance) writes amazingly evocative and atmospheric books."
Best Pop Fiction of 2021—Library Journal