A RACE TO SPLENDOR
In her story inspired by the architect Julia Morgan, Ware depicts the race against time to rebuild a luxury hotel following the devastating 1906 earthquake, which left 250,000 people homeless. Meticulously researched, this richly detailed novel, whose earthquake scenes are so real that readers will believe they are witnessing the event, will enthrall. It’s a testament to San Francisco’s men and women and the oft-forgotten Chinese, who played a major role in their city’s history. Kudos to Ware for creating an unforgettable story.
Following in the footsteps of her mentor, Julia Morgan, Amelia Bradshaw returns from Paris with a degree in architecture to discover her father has gambled away her inheritance, the Bay View Hotel, to J.D. Thayer. Amelia is ready to fight for her hotel when the earthquake strikes and the Bay View, like its rival the Fairmont, is destroyed. Working on Morgan’s staff gives Amelia the opportunity to rebuild the Bay View — but she must work with Thayer. Not only is this difficult for the headstrong Amelia, she also faces censure from Morgan. Suddenly Amelia is working against her mentor. She strives to build a life against the backdrop of the ashes and finds herself needing Thayer’s support and the help of the Chinese workers. Drawn into new worlds and a changed city, Amelia learns to grow and trust her instincts, as well as the man who stands at her side. (SOURCEBOOKS, Apr., 544 pp., $16.99)