Saturday, June 16, 2012

Out of the Ashes by Lori Dillon: MY Review

Theirs was a love destined to be -- torn apart by the wrath of Vesuvius

Pompeii, AD 79

David and Sera are soul mates meant to be together, if only their bumbling guardian angels could do their job right...

First united in Pompeii as a privileged merchant's daughter and a slave gladiator, their young love is cut short when Vesuvius unexpectedly erupts. After several botched attempts, their angels get one final chance to bring the couple together and personally escort them back to war-torn Italy, nearly two thousand years later.

WWII, 1943

Sera is now an archeologist excavating the ruins of Pompeii. David is an American soldier masquerading as an Italian, sent to spy on the Germans camped near the ruins. With the help of their earth-bound angels, they soon find each other again as they excavate the ruins.

But will deception, the horrors of war, and the forgotten tragedy of their past lives, prevent them from unearthing the love of a lifetime.


A compelling story that is rich in historical fact, it is also technically well-scripted and contains enough humor to mitigate the darkness that could have become depressing had Ms. Dillon not kept such a tight rein on the central tragedies around which the story is woven.

I liked that both romantic leads were portrayed with a few flaws. I also enjoyed the fact that their relationship, particularly in 1943, was given space to grow. It was fun watching them through the eyes of their guardian angels. Their relationship evolved from its rather antagonistic and inauspicious beginning to a deep and abiding selfless love. I thought the ending was particularly poignant.

I felt as if I were there when Pompeii was buried under tons of volcanic ash. It was that easy to become invested in the lives that were cut so tragically short. Then, in 1943, once again, Ms. Dillon easily pulled me into the escalating drama. The hardships that were an integral part of daily life in war-torn Italy – the politics, attitudes, and flavor of life - come through brilliantly as the backdrop to the romance that manages somehow to find a toehold, against all odds. That love then flourishes even amongst the rubble of devastating bombs, lies, and patriotic duty.

Out of the Ashes is a book that will capture your imagination. It is crafted with deliberate precision, and will appeal broadly to readers who love romance set in exotic times and places.

Reviewed by Laurie-J
For Night Owl Reviews

Also see my Recent Feature Post with Lori Dillion that includes a Character  Interview with the hero of Out of the Ashes, David Corbin.

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