About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Nothing Left But Dust: A Novel by Melissa Geissinger: Review Tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Nothing Left But Dust: A Novel

Nothing Left But Dust is a powerful tale of love, loss, and hope set against the backdrop of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Follow Jo, a young woman struggling to heal after her Papa's death, as she tries to break free of her uncle's indentured servitude and secure an apprenticeship at a map-making shop. 

And Otto, a privileged young man with dreams of running away to become an artist, as he battles to escape the clutches of a ruthless crimp who means to have him Shanghaied. 

When the city is struck by the devastating earthquake on the morning of April 18th, their lives are forever changed. While it sets Otto free, it takes everything Jo holds dear and unearths a dark family secret. 

As they traverse the burning ruins of the city in search of answers, Jo and Otto must find the strength to survive and the courage to confront their families, all while navigating the unfamiliar landscape of falling in love. Nothing Left But Dust is a must-read for fans of young adult historical fiction. 

It's an edge-of-your-seat coming-of-age survival story that will leave you inspired by the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

Praise for Nothing Left But Dust

"Historically engrossing . . . A strong young female lead fuels this engaging, action-packed read." — Kirkus Reviews

“Great relationships, both real and fictional, are often formed in great tragedy. Melissa Geissinger's debut novel is a gem, with two compelling and original young heroes finding love in their epic struggle to survive a monstrous catastrophe." — James Dalessandro, author of 1906: A Novel



I've never experienced a catastrophic earthquake or been involved in a devastating wildfire but reading this book gave me all of the feels! Author Melissa Geissinger pulled me in with her vivid descriptions of the earthquake of 1906, the destruction that it caused, and the terror that followed when fires raged throughout the wreckage. I've long known about the earthquake but I didn't know how devastating the fires were. Geissinger's words helped me visualize the engulfing flames, feel the intense heat, and understand the overwhelming fear! I was there and I was fully engaged!

Nothing Left But Dust is told from two points of view. Jo wanted to escape her uncle's clutches and better her life by becoming an apprentice, and Otto longed for the chance to develop his artistic talents. Jo's immense struggles and Otto's life of privilege were in stark contrast, but common tragedy has a way of making people equal! It can also make them aware of each other emotionally, and this is exactly what happened with Jo and Otto!

It's apparent that the author has devoted a lot of time to researching the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and she shares her many resources at the end of the book. She also reveals in her author's note that she personally experienced her own California wildfire and this has definitely influenced her exciting narrative. Nothing Left But Dust is fascinating historical fiction and the fact that it's a debut novel makes it even more special. I applaud Ms. Geissinger and I look forward to what's ahead in her writing career!

I received a complimentary copy from the author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. There was no obligation for a positive review.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Melissa Geissinger is descended from survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and is herself a wildfire survivor. A neurodivergent optimist, Melissa is predisposed to following her dreams as well as every shiny side quest along the way. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner, her five-year-old heart warrior son, and a menagerie of fur kids. She enjoys the outdoors, soaking up knowledge, and connecting with other passionate creators. Nothing Left But Dust is her first novel.


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