web site hit counter Vera - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Vera

Availability: Ready to download

An astonishing feat of imagination, a grand adventure set in 1906 San Francisco—a city leveled by quake and fire—featuring an indomitable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe and her quest for love and reinvention. Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legen An astonishing feat of imagination, a grand adventure set in 1906 San Francisco—a city leveled by quake and fire—featuring an indomitable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe and her quest for love and reinvention. Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello and ally to the city’s corrupt politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—the madam’s alluring sphere, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her. On the morning of the great quake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the shattered city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors. Together they navigate their way beyond disaster.


Compare

An astonishing feat of imagination, a grand adventure set in 1906 San Francisco—a city leveled by quake and fire—featuring an indomitable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe and her quest for love and reinvention. Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legen An astonishing feat of imagination, a grand adventure set in 1906 San Francisco—a city leveled by quake and fire—featuring an indomitable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe and her quest for love and reinvention. Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello and ally to the city’s corrupt politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—the madam’s alluring sphere, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her. On the morning of the great quake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the shattered city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors. Together they navigate their way beyond disaster.

30 review for Vera

  1. 5 out of 5

    Yun

    If I ever wondered how long it would take for the world to end, I know: forty-five seconds. Vera is the illegitimate daughter of Rose, madam extraordinaire of San Francisco's most notorious bordello. At fifteen years old, she is sharp and resourceful, though the one thing she wants most but never had is a mother's unconditional love. When the 1906 earthquake hits and levels the entire city, Vera will need to reach deep within and gather all her wits and courage if she is to survive. At its hea If I ever wondered how long it would take for the world to end, I know: forty-five seconds. Vera is the illegitimate daughter of Rose, madam extraordinaire of San Francisco's most notorious bordello. At fifteen years old, she is sharp and resourceful, though the one thing she wants most but never had is a mother's unconditional love. When the 1906 earthquake hits and levels the entire city, Vera will need to reach deep within and gather all her wits and courage if she is to survive. At its heart, Vera is a coming of age story, of a young girl thrust into an unrecognizable world, where everything she previously held dear and counted on is now no more. She must think on her feet, forge new relationships, and make impossible choices if she is to come out of it unscathed. The writing is so sharp and vibrant. The characters, in particular Vera, come across interesting, fully-formed, and nuanced. The descriptions of San Francisco, both before and in the aftermath of the earthquake, were real and vivid, to the point where the devastated, burning landscape of the city was seared into my mind's eye. Edgarian's writing style pulled me in immediately, and I was swept away in this tale of resilience and courage. On thing I didn't expect was the unflinching portrayal of racism against Chinese people during this time. As someone who is Chinese, I found it it really hard to read both the casual and systematic injustices they were forced to endure. I appreciated that the author didn't attempt to whitewash what happened, and instead incorporated it into the story. Even our main character Vera wasn't immune to the thinking of its time, which made her growth and her connection to Tan over time that much more satisfying to see. This story surprised me in all the best ways. I normally don't gravitate towards character-driven, coming of age stories, thinking that they might be dull or uninteresting. But the narrative here was riveting, propelled forward by sharp writing and vividly-sketched characters facing catastrophe and making the best of it. It's the sort of book where I find myself reading sentences and paragraphs twice or thrice, just to experience them again. I honestly could not get enough.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Finished -- "Do You Know the Way to San Francisco?" Review to follow -- (going walking first before it reaches 103% today) I enjoyed Carol Edgarian's novel "Three Stages of Amazement" (read it in 2011) ....only sorry I've never met this wonderful SFBay area author! UPDATE: REVIEW I’m a SFBay area fanatic....having lived in almost every major city...east Bay, North Bay, and South Bay. I worked on California St. - in S.F. near Chinatown for three years. I’ve family in Pacific Heights - friends in Nob Finished -- "Do You Know the Way to San Francisco?" Review to follow -- (going walking first before it reaches 103% today) I enjoyed Carol Edgarian's novel "Three Stages of Amazement" (read it in 2011) ....only sorry I've never met this wonderful SFBay area author! UPDATE: REVIEW I’m a SFBay area fanatic....having lived in almost every major city...east Bay, North Bay, and South Bay. I worked on California St. - in S.F. near Chinatown for three years. I’ve family in Pacific Heights - friends in Nob Hill - Haight district - etc. San Francisco is a ‘one-of-a-kind’ city: colorful streets, the Golden Gate Bridge, Historical Victorians, Great museums, street fairs, great food, (sourdough bread, small dive restaurants with great tasting food, to fancy Michelin-starred restaurants), theater, awesome book stores, free outdoor music events, fog, hills, views, mild temperatures, The Pier, Chinatown, Alcatraz Island, The Ferry Building, Cable cars, Golden Gate Park, The Sea Lions at Pier 39, The Presidio, Fishermans wharf, diverse neighborhoods, Dog friendly, Ghirardelli chocolate, Wealthy, middle class, poor, and homeless residents, extravagant gay men, larger than life characters, The Bay to Breakers race, The Gay Pride parade, the famous Buena Vista Cafe serving up Irish Coffees, nearby Muir Woods, Sausalito, and even Goodreads. ( in the heart of the city). A fantastic walking city, where many of my favorite authors live. John Steinbeck said: “Once I knew the city very well, spent my attic days there, while others were being a lost generation in Paris, I fledged in San Francisco, climbed it’s hills, slept in its parks, worked on it docks, marched and shouted in its revolts...It had been kind to me in the days of my poverty and it did not resent my temporary solvency”. Carol Edgarian lives in San Francisco. When she writes about San Francisco...not only does she write about the exhilarating city - but its the way of life......the culture of the day, and contextual insights into its urban life. The streets of San Francisco come alive. Her descriptions are vibrantly imagined....and illuminated by warmth and delicacy of her prose. Carol takes us to the streets - back in time - before, during, and after the 1906 earthquake: Wednesday, April 18th, 1906. We meet colorful liars, corrupt politicians, thieves, con artists, legendary historical characters, a memorable supporting cast... and the resilient heroine: VERA JOHNSON. When we first meet Vera, it’s her 15th birthday....1906. Nine days after her birthday, the world that Vera knew, would be gone. Vera’s birth mother, Rose, was a grande dame of the Barbary Coast (a red-light district during the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries in San Francisco— which featured dance halls, concert saloons, bars, jazz clubs, variety shows, and brothels). Rose was the notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s ritziest bordello. She was also an ally to the cities correct politicians. Rose didn’t raise Vera. [but Vera always wished to be with Rose]. Rose paid for a parrot, that Vera desperately wanted for her 10th birthday- Ricky was his name. Too cute- funny bird.....( I’m a bird lover too)...so I enjoyed many of the selective tidbit side dishes in this story. Our hearts for Vera grow and grow — from her early childhood days - into her adult days. Vera makes us laugh, charms us, ( not a vindictive bone in her body), but we ache for her too. Her quiet ( almost hidden), loneliness and unfulfilled desires - are always there. And that’s the way that goes! 🙁 Nobody knew that Rose had a daughter. Rose paid Morie Johnson, a Swedish widow, to take care of Vera.....but often Morie kept most of the money for herself. Vera says: “I suppose I gave Morie hundreds of reasons to hit me: my skirt was soiled, my tongue to lose, I reminded her of her last pride”. Morie raised two girls: Vera, 15, and Pie 18. Vera says: ( about Pie): “We were sisters by arrangement, not blood, and though Pie was superior in most ways, I was boss and that’s how we’d go”. The girls had a noble-hearted Rottweiler mix: Rogue. Readers will love this dog! I sure did. Vera, Pie, and Morie lived close to the canneries and piers- not a fancy house or block: working class. Alma de Bretteville Spreckels (historical legendary socialite and philanthropist, and beauty), *Big Alma*, lived on their street, but was famous all over town. Men were so taken with her, they used her face as the model for Victoria, a goddess of victory, on the bronze statue at stir top Union Square. We meet neighbors, city officials, cooks, drivers, community members, celebrities, thieves....ordinary folks, and ( the adorable animals) ...Mayor Eugene Schmitz, the sheriff and every member of the city’s Board of Supervisors were corrupt grafters—and nobody seemed to care. ....A Mexican prostitute could be bought for 25 cents. A French whore could be bought for a dollar. ....Tenor Enrico Caruso: Italian Opera singer, ....Boss Abe Ruef: a lawyer and politician who was corrupt. ....Bobby: Vera’s lover, protector of the cities tribe of orphans, three generations of a Chinese family competing and conspiring with Vera. The day of the quake: ...”I can say with certainty that on Wednesday, April 18, 1906, we ate roast beef and apricot jam”. ...”The San Francisco Gas and Electric’s silo chimney split in two”. ...People were on Nob Hill fighting to keep the Fairmont from burning. ...Photographers were taking photos. ... soldiers were setting up rows of army-issued tents. ...fire blazes jumped wide boulevards ( Van Ness Avenue), and was gobbling Pacific Heights. ... Sparks hopped from roof to roof. ...owners of mansions were given just 45 minutes to clear out, before the horn sounded and their houses exploded with their art and valuables inside. My final words - thoughts - and feelings: With as much detail as I tried to include....there really are no spoilers. I stayed away from sharing the emotions and depths that must be experienced.....from each reader. Specifics of what happens to our characters - directly in relationship to the 1906 earthquake- I’ve kept to myself. Readers really need to experience this history, the imagined storytelling themselves. I can tell you I got really teary and sad in one part - towards the end.... And of course when I was reading about the city’s devastating catastrophe - those vivid descriptions of the earthquake - the shocking sudden emergence....I thought about COVID-19.... As Vera said: “How quickly we’d adapted to a shaking world, as if it had always been this way: when it was coming on— like a stomach flu, the roiling that wouldn’t stop until you were sick, sick and tired— you braced with your knees and grabbed onto something solid while glancing overhead to see what might fall”. This book grounded me. It’s hugely dazzling and compassionate.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tooter

    4 Stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    In the wake of the of the devastating 1908 San Francisco earthquake, the bastard and virtually abandoned daughter of a prominent brothel Madam comes of age, proves her mettle and survives. Everything about this book is fine. The writing is fine, the characters are fine, and the storyline is fine. I wish it had been more and certainly more than fine.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    I don't keep many books for my personal collection, but this one is an exception. I'm not sure what it is, but so far in 2021, the thrillers I have read have all been rather mediocre, but the historical fiction books have been fantastic! I was sold from the moment I saw the amazing cover and read the words "San Francisco earthquake" and "bordello;" but I had no idea what an incredibly moving tale of loss, love, and reinvention it would turn out to be. It is the story of Vera Johnson, the fifteen I don't keep many books for my personal collection, but this one is an exception. I'm not sure what it is, but so far in 2021, the thrillers I have read have all been rather mediocre, but the historical fiction books have been fantastic! I was sold from the moment I saw the amazing cover and read the words "San Francisco earthquake" and "bordello;" but I had no idea what an incredibly moving tale of loss, love, and reinvention it would turn out to be. It is the story of Vera Johnson, the fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, who is the famous Madame of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—her mother's alluring world, into which Vera is only welcomed a few times a year, and the cold, unloving world of the foster mother paid by Rose to raise her. Vera doesn't feel loved by either "mother," although she is close with her adopted sister, Pie, despite the fact that Vera longs to be independent, while Pie wants only to marry a local shopkeeper. Vera is also seemingly despised by Rose's right-hand man, Tan, from Chinatown, who always seems to be lurking in the shadows wherever she goes. On the day of the famous earthquake, Vera’s two worlds collide. As the shattered city burns, Vera and Pie find themselves alone and homeless. Unable to locate Rose, Vera and an unwilling Pie move into Rose's "gold house," despite the societal shame the house carries for its inhabitants. With only Tan to help, they forge an unlikely family of misfit survivors. A badly injured and disfigured Rose is eventually located and Vera becomes her caregiver, in hopes that she will finally win her mother's love. What follows is heart wrenching, powerful, and inspiring, as her hopes are dashed time and again, but she continues to persist in finding her own way. I've read several other books about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but I must say the descriptions in this book were the most vivid and moving of any I've ever read. The Chinatown pieces were also intriguing, as I had no idea of the corruption and racism that was so prevalent during that era. There wasn't a character who didn't move me in some way, and the relationship between Vera and Bobby warmed my heart and then broke it with the same intensity. The plot took so many unexpected turns that made the story truly memorable. The only parts that lagged a bit for me were the scenes with the mayor and "Haj," but in the end, they all play a pertinent role in the plot, so I can overlook them. All I can say is that if I ever have to endure a natural disaster, I want a Vera in my squad! Such a strong character-driven, coming of age story that I won't soon forget and can't recommend highly enough. All the stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    You had me at San Francisco and Bordello LOL

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    Vera Johnson has lived a long, long life and in all of her years none have proved to be as momentous, as exciting, as devastating as 1906, the year San Francisco was nearly leveled by an epic earthquake. In 1906 Vera was 15, a bastard child of SF’s most popular madam, given to and paid for a Swedish single mother to raise alongside her own child. Vera has a scant relationship with her birthmother, a potently ambitious well connected woman who for all her admirable qualities doesn’t have a matern Vera Johnson has lived a long, long life and in all of her years none have proved to be as momentous, as exciting, as devastating as 1906, the year San Francisco was nearly leveled by an epic earthquake. In 1906 Vera was 15, a bastard child of SF’s most popular madam, given to and paid for a Swedish single mother to raise alongside her own child. Vera has a scant relationship with her birthmother, a potently ambitious well connected woman who for all her admirable qualities doesn’t have a maternal bone in her body. Until the earthquake rips through the city permanently altering all preexisting arrangements and Vera and her (nonbiological) sister Pie find themselves taking possession of a fancy mansion she never got to grow up in, her birthright. But the girls are not alone, they are antagonized and cared for in equal measures by her mother’s former employee Tan and his family, just as the position of Chinese people in the city gets suddenly quite precarious. There’s a love interest that slowly makes his way into the picture. There are all the terrific variegated players who slowly come to populate the place. And then there are real life characters cleverly integrated into the fabric of the plot, from politicians to socialites. All set against the backdrop of the city ravaged by nature and yet poised to make yet another comeback, to live up to its flag, to rise from the ashes. There are great many things this novel gets right the first and foremost of them being creating a genuinely excellent young protagonist in adult fiction. It isn’t often than a 15 year old can carry a story with such aplomb. It’s a bildungsroman in a way, of course, 1906 shapes Vera into a person of steel, will and drive she becomes, albeit possibly stealing away too much softness through teaching some lessons too early and too brutally. Secondly, there are some terrific descriptions of the city. I’ve recently armchair traveled to SF, but a present day version. This was a time machine armchair trip, which is almost as good as hot tub time machine and by some accounts more so, especially in the summer. The writing is good, the characters are enjoyable, it’s sad without being depressing. Not sure why I didn’t love it, though I definitely liked it a lot. A transporting sort of entertainment, Great for fans of historical fiction. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley. ​This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 𝐀𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐡𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬. Vera makes no qualms about her blood, she is a mutt, a bastard and an almost orphan. Her mother Rose, a legendary Madam, birthed her but left the raising to a Swedish widow named Elsa. In doing so, this guarantees she will never become a hooker nor bear the stain of her mother’s sins. The earth is about t via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 𝐀𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐡𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬. Vera makes no qualms about her blood, she is a mutt, a bastard and an almost orphan. Her mother Rose, a legendary Madam, birthed her but left the raising to a Swedish widow named Elsa. In doing so, this guarantees she will never become a hooker nor bear the stain of her mother’s sins. The earth is about to shake the ground beneath their feet and alter all their plans days after Vera’s fifteenth birthday in San Francisco 1906. With Rose’s blood running through Vera’s veins, she has two warring natures inside of her but which will win out? Her mysterious mother Rose lives a lavish life in Pacific Heights within a great house of many rooms upon which Vera looks at with deep longing. The time she spends with her mother are rare, and all her wishes are centered on being with Rose. With Vera’s dark looks, it’s impossible to truly pass as Elsa’s daughter and Piper “Pie’s” sister. Rose’s life revolves around meeting the desires of men, in the oldest profession in the world and Vera’s father? Well, he’s not even a factor. Her loneliness is overwhelming, feeling like nothing more than “a madam’s mistake”, Rose’s great shame and yet there lies freedom in being a secret. Vera learns early in life that her mind is her greatest company, and is the very thing that will help her survive and thrive when their great city and its citizens crumble. San Francisco and Vera could be the same entity, both inhabited by secrets, henchmen, painted ladies, sleazy politicians, and all manner of celebrity and scandal. Vera learns discernment is the name of the game early on, and works hard to earn her keep. Despite Rose’s attempts to see Vera become first class, Vera is oddly proud of what her mother has accomplished as a Madam of the brothel (off limits to her), running the best place downtown. If only she would stop sending Vera away, if only things began making sense. Rose is privy to everything happening in this fine city, from the belly crawling scum to San Francisco’s mayor, she has eyes and ears everywhere. She doesn’t suffer fools and in her own way is teaching Vera how to be strong, a survivor. Vera wants nothing more than to prove herself to her mother and by choosing to shamefully out a liar she proves even she has a price. She may never be as beautiful as her mother, but she can be smart… There it is, she is not beautiful, a crushing truth but she will need her smarts to survive the destructive forces of the coming earthquakes of her long life. Rose exemplifies the times and what a woman without many options resorted too. Rather than being beaten down or waiting to be rescued, she used her wits to climb out of ruin, reborn again and again. Her moves are full of calculations and ones that Vera can’t always comprehend. But there are hard lessons between want and desire she is bound to absorb. The Chinese man Tan, her mother Rose’s butler and cook is the kink in the chain, the cause of confusion and anger. Tan, her mother’s spy- the very man who, though resentful of Vera’s very existence, can sometimes be bribed into revealing secrets to her. He will play a far greater role in all their lives, despite their shared mutual hatred. Vera is learning she isn’t as far removed from the rest of the filth as she once believed. Everything in life is a game, she learns this the night of the opera, a game she has to learn to play and this she does on the streets of the glorious city. A city that is an orchestra that the mayor controls. Just as she is chewing on thoughts of that night, the city cracks. Everything falls upon them and it is up to Vera to save both she and love-sick, heart-broken Pie. Vera has no choice but to lead the way. Soon the city is alight with fires, the dead lay buried, and society is suddenly equal, at least in their devastation. Everyone is a target for criminals, Rose is nowhere to be found dead or alive, and Vera is motherless as always. There is no gas, no running water, no electricity, no food but some grit has entered her soul, and in Rose’s house she and Pie become squatters. No telling how long before the world will right itself, she grudgingly allows Tan into their lives again, but he isn’t alone. He has brought a beautiful girl with him. It is because of him that another usurps her place as her mother’s daughter, and it’s a crushing blow. Everything is burning, and follows suit with history. Nearly 500 city blocks destroyed in the span of 3 days. The Palace Hotel, Chinatown… everything engulfed. Vera is only 15 and full of pride, but she is about to grow up fast. How will it all end, where will this event take them all and will Vera reunite with her mother Rose? Will her mother always reside in her head, watching over her, there to impress? Vera is first and foremost about reinvention, Rose was already planning her daughter’s future before her birth, deciding what path would be better, but never could she have predicted the forces of nature, the earth’s or her own child’s. The best laid plans and all that… nature, nurture, pride, class, love, lust, desire, all these things build a city and bring it down. Vera and the city of San Francisco are both rebuilt but each retain the memory of what the destruction cost them, regardless of how much time passes. Yes, read it, it is engaging historical fiction. Publication Date: March 2, 2021 Scribner

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    It's 1906 in San Francisco, right before the big earthquake. Vera, the child of bordello madam Rose, has been placed with a widow and her daughter. Her guardian is a drinker and a gambler, and is dependent on the income she receives from Rose. Everything changes after the earthquake, and Vera at age 15 proves that she is a survivor. I found the characters unlikable and somewhat lacking in depth. I did find the setting of turn of the 20th century San Francisco interesting, and recommend this nove It's 1906 in San Francisco, right before the big earthquake. Vera, the child of bordello madam Rose, has been placed with a widow and her daughter. Her guardian is a drinker and a gambler, and is dependent on the income she receives from Rose. Everything changes after the earthquake, and Vera at age 15 proves that she is a survivor. I found the characters unlikable and somewhat lacking in depth. I did find the setting of turn of the 20th century San Francisco interesting, and recommend this novel to anyone who is also intrigued by this time period. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This is an extraordinarily engaging novel about the great San Francisco earthquake, seen through the eyes of Vera. Vera is a tough, scrappy 15 year old when the quake comes and turns her world upside down, but she is a survivor. Despite having been abandoned by her mother, San Francisco’s most successful madam, it to her that Vera is drawn. Vera figures out how to support herself and the people around her. Her enormous loyalty to her mother and the rag-tag bunch of people who had been devoted to This is an extraordinarily engaging novel about the great San Francisco earthquake, seen through the eyes of Vera. Vera is a tough, scrappy 15 year old when the quake comes and turns her world upside down, but she is a survivor. Despite having been abandoned by her mother, San Francisco’s most successful madam, it to her that Vera is drawn. Vera figures out how to support herself and the people around her. Her enormous loyalty to her mother and the rag-tag bunch of people who had been devoted to her, lead the reader to an absolutely riveting story. Honestly, it is sometimes difficult for me to enjoy historical fiction, but I was essentially hypnotized by this book. Edgarian transported me back to the quake and I felt I walked through the rubble and rebuilding with Vera. I highly recommend this and I think that it goes so far beyond fiction that the reader can gain great knowledge about the history of San Francisco, it’s destruction and it’s rebirth. Thank you Netgalley for for the opportunity to read and review this novel.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was an interesting and sometimes heartbreaking read. Vera is scrappy and resilient, qualities I admire in a female character. I would have liked to see more glimpses into her future than what we got. This was somewhere between 3.5 and four stars for me, as sometimes I wanted it to move along a bit quicker. Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    VERA BY CAROL EDGARIAN This novel was such a pleasure to read and if I could award it one-hundred stars I would most definitely do so. Carol Edgarian has in my humble opinion written the finest coming of age historical novel's to thrill and delight adult audiences I have ever come across in my entire lifetime. From its beginning pages it attracted and held my interest and attention until I read the very last word. In Vera, Ms Edgarian has created a fifteen year old protagonist that both captivated VERA BY CAROL EDGARIAN This novel was such a pleasure to read and if I could award it one-hundred stars I would most definitely do so. Carol Edgarian has in my humble opinion written the finest coming of age historical novel's to thrill and delight adult audiences I have ever come across in my entire lifetime. From its beginning pages it attracted and held my interest and attention until I read the very last word. In Vera, Ms Edgarian has created a fifteen year old protagonist that both captivated and charmed me with her iron will spirit and courage. This was an elaborately invented character that in the face of adversity possesses noble qualities and is both confident and courageous with leadership skills that are plentiful in the aftermath of a catastrophe. I don't normally gravitate towards reading coming of age novels nor do I seek them out but Vera had my soul smiling with her wit out performing an ensemble of eclectic character's. This is a novel exquisitely written for adult audiences and it is both epic and literary in its rich and lush descriptions. On April 18, 1906 an earthquake strikes killing hundreds and gravely wounding thousands. Vera is being taking care of by a Swedish woman named Morie who owes the haj a great deal amount of money. Morie's daughter, Piper whom goes by the name of Pie and Vera stumble their way out of the house miraculously surviving the devastation that has destroyed their house and all of those in their neighborhood. The roof caved in and Morie is killed being buried under the bricks, wood and stucco just like all of the rest of the houses in their community. Vera and Pie who is older make their way by their horse to Vera's birth mother's mansion which is on Nob Hill a much higher terrain with only minor roof damage to both the lavishly furnished sturdier opulent home. The stables are where the beloved horse is put in a stall. Part of the stable's roof is also damaged and the horse breaks one of his legs and a man shoots the horse. Rose, Vera's birth mother who is a Madam is nowhere to be found. That same day Tan, Rose's servant who was just fired shows up with his father and his teenage daughter Lifang who are from Chinatown. Rose has a pantry filled with food and Tan sets up an outdoor cooking hovel and with his excellent culinary skills and spices quickly cooks all of the Roasts and before long has an endless line of displaced person's which are paying him for each plate of food. Tan is keeping all of the proceeds of the money and when Vera asks him about it he lies and empties his pockets showing her that he only has a few pennies. The air quality is poor with all of the fires burning from exploding gas lines in the lower downtown district and most of the city. Vera depends solely on herself with her resources, mental sharpness, firmness of purpose and keen intelligence forging forward in an uncertain world after a devastating catastrophe. Charting her own course with her improbable new family who depend on her in a completely new way of life after the city's natural disaster I grew to love her. I doubt that I would be able to make the crucial decisions that Vera did establishing solving the challenges that she faced for searching for an indifferent mother and the risks that she took bringing Rose home and saving her life. My heart broke for Vera in not receiving the two most important loves of her life. In Vera, Edgarian brings forth a survivor whose quest is tested compassionately by con artists, thieves and liars. Vera's story brings into existence remarkable and legendary characters to come to life. Enrico Caruso, corrupt Mayor Eugene Schmitz and his wife Pearl. Prominent tabloid celebrity Alma Spreckels. Vera's first love boyfriend and the love of her life, Bobby, the bold champion at the House of Protections who looks out for the orphans. A story told without the hesitation of fear, with the insight of remaining open, honest, fresh and with the enterprise of inventiveness with keen intelligence. It encompasses the coming of age experience with an inquiry that examines the nature of sex, power and the courage whether being in pain or adversity an examination of the bravery that triumphs and heals. This is one of the the novels that I will be sure to purchase for myself, family members and my special friends who love good literary fiction with unforgettable heroine's. I highly, highly recommend Vera. It is only January but I am certain that this is going to be one of the best reading experiences that I have had in my life. I can't wait to read Carol Edgarian's other work who has been endorsed by James Salter who is an excellent Author who knows how to write fiction that reaches in and touches the human heart in all of us. Publication Date: March 2, 2021 Thank you to Net Galley, Carol Edgarian and Simon & Schuster/Scribner for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I enjoyed this tale of the immediate aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as it is told by the tenacious, plucky Vera. In the book, Vera is at an advanced age and reflects back to her fifteen-year-old self. The story is told from a teen's point of view but it doesn't read YA at all. Overall, an enjoyable read with lively characters. I enjoyed this tale of the immediate aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as it is told by the tenacious, plucky Vera. In the book, Vera is at an advanced age and reflects back to her fifteen-year-old self. The story is told from a teen's point of view but it doesn't read YA at all. Overall, an enjoyable read with lively characters.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    In "Vera," Edgarian has provided a very unique view of life for those who survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The main character (Vera), a 15-year-old illegitimate and unacknowledged daughter of the city's most popular madam (Rose), proves her mettle when she steps up and takes charge of family and employees when Rose is missing after the quake. I was impressed by Vera's tenacity and resourcefulness, although it was a bit hard to believe that a relatively sheltered girl could be so capab In "Vera," Edgarian has provided a very unique view of life for those who survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The main character (Vera), a 15-year-old illegitimate and unacknowledged daughter of the city's most popular madam (Rose), proves her mettle when she steps up and takes charge of family and employees when Rose is missing after the quake. I was impressed by Vera's tenacity and resourcefulness, although it was a bit hard to believe that a relatively sheltered girl could be so capable in such a traumatic situation. Written in first person with an economy of prose, the author does a fine job of addressing Vera's coming-of-age, longing for her mother's love and attention, and her canniness in navigating a city attempting to right itself after such devastation. The city itself is a major character and the descriptions were so vivid that I researched the historical quake, finding much of the information woven into the story is factual. It's quite amazing to me how many people still choose to make the Bay Area their home! Thanks to Scribner & NetGalley for providing the ARC.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hill

    Thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on March 2nd, 2021. A wild coming-of-age story — Vera is the daughter of the Barbary Coast’s most successful (and infamous) Madam (Rose) and is raised by a “proper” Swedish widow (Morie) who lives on that income. At 15 Vera is a “scrawny and sharp-tongued girl” seething with a fervent desire for more: more time with her real mother, more options, more life. A Thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on March 2nd, 2021. A wild coming-of-age story — Vera is the daughter of the Barbary Coast’s most successful (and infamous) Madam (Rose) and is raised by a “proper” Swedish widow (Morie) who lives on that income. At 15 Vera is a “scrawny and sharp-tongued girl” seething with a fervent desire for more: more time with her real mother, more options, more life. And then the 1906 San Francisco quake hits. With a cast of unforgettable characters deployed across unforgettable scenes, we follow Vera through adventures during and after the quake and resulting fire (which burned 28,000 buildings and 500 city blocks). From Rose’s “gold house” on Lafayette Square to Chinatown to the many encampments for the suddenly homeless (400,000 people), the novel depicts the new mixtures of uppercrusters, corrupt politicians, wandering orphans, and the military with their overrun field hospitals — all adhering to their own sense of morality, loyalty, and their survival instinct. Real life personalities Alma Spreckles, Abe Ruef, Caruso, and Mayor Eugene Schmitz (the quake occurring on the eve of his arrest on corruption charges) all play parts. The writing is full of details such as the ingredients in Dills cough medicine (chloroform and a heroin derivative). Completely brings to life the time and the place for a variety of characters with different backgrounds. Could not put it down.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stacy40pages

    Vera by Carol Edgerian. Thanks to @netgalley and @scribner for the e-Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Vera has two mothers, her biological mother who is the madame of San Francisco, and her adopted mother. When the San Francisco earthquakes hit, it will test her loyalties and what she’s made of. Okay, I rarely ever give half stars but after a lot of consideration, I decided to do so here. This was such an amazing read. I was entertained the whole way through. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is because it Vera by Carol Edgerian. Thanks to @netgalley and @scribner for the e-Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Vera has two mothers, her biological mother who is the madame of San Francisco, and her adopted mother. When the San Francisco earthquakes hit, it will test her loyalties and what she’s made of. Okay, I rarely ever give half stars but after a lot of consideration, I decided to do so here. This was such an amazing read. I was entertained the whole way through. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is because it felt a little rushed at times; mostly the end. This book was incredible and I would even say an epic saga. I think it would have been even better if it was a longer book... 336 pages was great but so much happened I feel it could be longer. Back to the amazing things about the book.. the main character is great. You become attached to her immediately and though she’s not the prettiest or sweetest character, she is the one you root for. Also, I will always love a book that has bordellos and harlots. This book did a great job of highlighting San Francisco before and after the devastating earthquake. It was a city some would call debauched, and others, like me... fun! “For fifteen years I’d been waiting for a catastrophe greater than my birth. The quake gave it to me.” “When you’re young, you think time is like water - you can put your hand in at will and swirl it around. But time isn’t like water. Time is like a quake - irrevocable and crushing. At best you can hope to ride it till it stops.” Vera comes out 3/2.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    Vera is 15 when the San Francisco earthquake hits. She's the daughter of one of the city's most established madames, a woman who farmed her out to a foster mother and only agrees to see the girl several times a year. Of course Vera is obsessed with her mother, who may have rejected her because she is plain and charmless, two things that are about to help her in this time of disaster. With her foster mother killed by their collapsing house and her foster sister in shock, Vera takes the business of Vera is 15 when the San Francisco earthquake hits. She's the daughter of one of the city's most established madames, a woman who farmed her out to a foster mother and only agrees to see the girl several times a year. Of course Vera is obsessed with her mother, who may have rejected her because she is plain and charmless, two things that are about to help her in this time of disaster. With her foster mother killed by their collapsing house and her foster sister in shock, Vera takes the business of survival in hand while trying to find her mother, who we sadly know would not be looking for her. Vera has school friends from powerful families and people who have asked her for her plain-spoken take on political doings in town. Can she ask them for help, or will that be dangerous for her? And does she need them anyway? Vera is one of those girls who were meant for their moment. She forms unlikely alliances, sees the big picture, takes action and longs most of all for her mother's love. We only get a few glimpses of her long life but that would be another book. " "Vera" is a good historical read with terrific descriptions of the San Francisco earthquake. It flags in the middle but it's an excellent piece of escapist disaster fiction--things really could be worse. Thanks to the publisher for access to this title in exchange for an honest review. ~~Candace Siegle, Greedy Reader

  18. 5 out of 5

    Deidre Butkus

    I got an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I couldn’t put this book down! The book opens nine days before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and our main character Vera’s birthday. Vera was placed in an adopted home when she was 2 and we meet her birth mom in the first few chapters, Rose. Rose is the head of a brothel. The entire book Vera is trying to figure out who she is and how she fits into Rose’s life. The entire book is from Vera’s POV and shows how the earthquake devast I got an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I couldn’t put this book down! The book opens nine days before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and our main character Vera’s birthday. Vera was placed in an adopted home when she was 2 and we meet her birth mom in the first few chapters, Rose. Rose is the head of a brothel. The entire book Vera is trying to figure out who she is and how she fits into Rose’s life. The entire book is from Vera’s POV and shows how the earthquake devastated the entire community and how her small area made it through. The ending made me realize I didn’t know what would happen to Vera but her ending made me smile. Highly recommend, I couldn’t finish it fast enough.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Birdy Veglahn

    This book. Where do I even start? When I saw this book and read about it, I knew I had to read it. From page one I was drawn into Vera, it was difficult to put down. Vera is stunning, heart breaking and hauntingly beautiful story that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. 1906, San Francisco is destroyed by earthquakes and subsequent fires. Vera Johnson is 15 and living in two different worlds, one as a common daughter and sister and another as an illegitimate child of a well known madam. As ea This book. Where do I even start? When I saw this book and read about it, I knew I had to read it. From page one I was drawn into Vera, it was difficult to put down. Vera is stunning, heart breaking and hauntingly beautiful story that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. 1906, San Francisco is destroyed by earthquakes and subsequent fires. Vera Johnson is 15 and living in two different worlds, one as a common daughter and sister and another as an illegitimate child of a well known madam. As earthquakes rock the city, Vera's lives come crashing together. Determined, intelligent and scrappy Vera pulls herself up and builds an entirely new life. I would like to give a huge thank you to NetGalley and Scribner books for my ARCs of this wonderful book. Vera by Carol Edgarian is available to purchase March 2, 2021!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeffry Weisman

    I was fortunate to get a net galley of VERA, Carol Edgarian's brilliant new story about coming of age while overcoming adversity. Set against the backdrop of the devastation caused by the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, the story swept me away into another world. The characters are deeply and memorably crafted. I found myself completely immersed in the narrative, questioning how Vera would survive and become an adult as the world around her crumbled. The plot takes many unexpected turns that m I was fortunate to get a net galley of VERA, Carol Edgarian's brilliant new story about coming of age while overcoming adversity. Set against the backdrop of the devastation caused by the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, the story swept me away into another world. The characters are deeply and memorably crafted. I found myself completely immersed in the narrative, questioning how Vera would survive and become an adult as the world around her crumbled. The plot takes many unexpected turns that make the story unforgettable. I could not put down Vera once I started and look forward to re-reading it when it comes out in hard cover this spring.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shannon A

    A page-turner of a historic novel full of grit, love and longing that was a joy to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    KarenK

    I received this from Netgalley.com. Vera Johnson survives the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and from the devastation she learns how to live. Good story. Lots of real historical people intertwined into the story as well as facts of the era. The fictional characters were believable and the story flowed well. 3.25☆

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I won this book in a good reads giveaway. This historical novel was sent in 1906 in San Francisco when the city was hit with the worst earthquake ever. Told in the view of Vera the daughter of the city most notorious madam, given to a women and her daughter to raise her as her own as she is kept a secret from the world. The strengthen these people Vera and her make shift family had to go though to make it though was unbelievable. This book was a page turner and highly recommend it!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ethel

    I left my heart in San Francisco and along with it this wonderful book. "Vera" a coming-of-age story is quite a bit more than that. Vera, 15 years old, illegitimate the daughter of a bordello madam. It was arranged that Rose, the bordello's madam, would have her daughter, Vera, be raised by someone else for a monthly allowance. She sees her real mother 3 times a year and lives with another woman of Swedish descent who is widowed and has an 18 year old daughter. Both daughter and mother have fair I left my heart in San Francisco and along with it this wonderful book. "Vera" a coming-of-age story is quite a bit more than that. Vera, 15 years old, illegitimate the daughter of a bordello madam. It was arranged that Rose, the bordello's madam, would have her daughter, Vera, be raised by someone else for a monthly allowance. She sees her real mother 3 times a year and lives with another woman of Swedish descent who is widowed and has an 18 year old daughter. Both daughter and mother have fair complexions, blonde hair and blue eyes...while Vera is olive skinned, has dark eyed and dark hair. Quite different from her "adoptive mother." However, that is only on the surface, underneath there lies an ornery personality, with a smart and quick wit...she is a survivalist. On a spring day in 1906 the earth shattered, moved and destroyed...shattered for 45 seconds in which seemed to go on forever. Rich, famous, poor...it didn't matter...the city was devastated, its inhabitants stunned. Surviving the 1906 earthquake, we find out just how resilient, and strong Vera is. While we see how like a Phoenix, the city rises from the ashes, we see what it takes for Vera to forward. In a world where not only her looks are different from those around her, it's her brains that give her the strength to survive as well as help others with their struggles. Thrown into the mix there are famous people of that time, Caruso, the corrupt mayor Eugene Schmitz and a cast of excellent supporting characters that make this book outstanding. From the first page to the last this book was interesting and engaging. As you read the description of the quake and the shattered city, you are right there as well. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jane Lancellotti

    What an experience I had reading Carol Edgarian’s Vera—a novel so gloriously entertaining and satisfying—I’m talking full immersion. The pull of the adventurous Vera Johnson, fifteen-year-old survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire that leveled her beloved city, grabbed me by the heart and wouldn’t let go. I read while eating, I read in the bath and in bed and pushed aside my computer to read at my desk. Vera’s the daughter of a Madame, The Rose of the Rose of the Barberry Coast, w What an experience I had reading Carol Edgarian’s Vera—a novel so gloriously entertaining and satisfying—I’m talking full immersion. The pull of the adventurous Vera Johnson, fifteen-year-old survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire that leveled her beloved city, grabbed me by the heart and wouldn’t let go. I read while eating, I read in the bath and in bed and pushed aside my computer to read at my desk. Vera’s the daughter of a Madame, The Rose of the Rose of the Barberry Coast, who gave her away to be raised by a Swede alongside her own daughter, the mild-mannered Pie. Growing up more wanting than wanted marks Vera with the kind of passionate desire that turns her indomitable in the aftermath of catastrophe. Written as a heartbreaking coming-of-age story about a girl and her city, Vera reimagines a number of legends from the turn of the century, including the Caruso, indicted MayorSchmitz and boss Abe Ruef, plus the Kardashian of the era, Alma Spreckels, as well as a tribe that includes Vera’s young lover, and a multi-generational Cantonese family—schemers, all. There was a kind of richness and beauty in the writing that pulled me along at speed. Question is: how much of the story shall I give away? Can I just say, high time for a novelist with the range and heart of Carol Edgarian to create a character for the ages in a girl whose wit, resourcefulness and humor stand alongside Jo March of Little Women, and Mattie Ross from True Grit? Think, Tom Sawyer. Think Billy Bathgate. You’re in for a ride that touches the depths and lifts the spirit. What a book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    At just 15 young Vera’s world is shaken to the core. There was an earthquake in San Francisco, 1906 that sets the illegitimate daughter of Rose, a well known madam of a glamorous bordello & ally to corrupt politicians on a whole new path. Rose hired a paid a young Swedish single mother to raise her daughter, Vera alongside her own child. Rose doesn’t seem to have any maternal instincts as it shows how easily she can give away her child. After disaster strikes, Vera and her non-biological sister v At just 15 young Vera’s world is shaken to the core. There was an earthquake in San Francisco, 1906 that sets the illegitimate daughter of Rose, a well known madam of a glamorous bordello & ally to corrupt politicians on a whole new path. Rose hired a paid a young Swedish single mother to raise her daughter, Vera alongside her own child. Rose doesn’t seem to have any maternal instincts as it shows how easily she can give away her child. After disaster strikes, Vera and her non-biological sister venture to the mansion that would have been her home if she had been raised by her mother. There is a former employee there that ends up caring for the girls along with his own family . The growth you see in Vera is remarkable seeing all the things she endured that caused her to grow up quite fast. The hardships she endured shapes her into who she ultimately becomes. I love this piece of historical fiction that slips me back into a time that I could almost picture being there myself.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jaymie Shook

    “Vera” is the story of a strong, well-rounded character who has you rooting for her throughout the novel. Carol Edgarian draws upon extensive research of the “big one” — the huge earthquake in San Francisco in the early 1900s. I knew very little about the San Francisco quake, and what little I did know was certainly not the human element that “Vera” so clearly describes. It felt as if I were living through a historical event as I read, rather than learning about it later. Highly recommend this bo “Vera” is the story of a strong, well-rounded character who has you rooting for her throughout the novel. Carol Edgarian draws upon extensive research of the “big one” — the huge earthquake in San Francisco in the early 1900s. I knew very little about the San Francisco quake, and what little I did know was certainly not the human element that “Vera” so clearly describes. It felt as if I were living through a historical event as I read, rather than learning about it later. Highly recommend this book of historical fiction. Thank you to @Netgalley for the early review copy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sisters Reviewing Books

    I was intrigued by this book’s summary and added it to my potential 2021 read list at the end of the year (definitely not a must read). I ended up receiving a copy though Netgalley back in January but I’m disappointed to say it was nothing special.. I’d give it three stars if I was more neutral about it and thought it was “just fine”, but I’m dropping my rating down to two because I thought it was a waste of time. I am still not sure what the point of the book was. I recently read A Splendid Rui I was intrigued by this book’s summary and added it to my potential 2021 read list at the end of the year (definitely not a must read). I ended up receiving a copy though Netgalley back in January but I’m disappointed to say it was nothing special.. I’d give it three stars if I was more neutral about it and thought it was “just fine”, but I’m dropping my rating down to two because I thought it was a waste of time. I am still not sure what the point of the book was. I recently read A Splendid Ruin which takes place in the same time period but that was fun and much more interesting. Vera (the book and the character) didn’t really have much of a plot/purpose. I got bored about halfway through but wanted to finish it by the end of the month so I could move on to another book. I think my problem with the plot/lack of purpose is from the pacing of the book. I guess it makes sense to dwell on the aftermath of a massive earthquake when the central focus of the book is the earthquake, but it read more like a daily journal of a survivor than a fiction novel. The writing was also choppy and didn’t make sense a lot of the time, which is probably what turned me off the most. I had to re-read a lot of conversations to figure out who was talking or what they were trying to say. I am not sure if 1906 slang is a thing but based on the writing, I was giving the characters weird Southern, New York hybrid accents as I read along.. Disappointing. Try A Splendid Ruin instead if you’re a (San Fran quake) historical fiction fan.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    She’s feisty and fifteen when we first meet Vera Johnson and I liked her from the beginning. She’s the daughter of an infamous San Francisco Madame who sends her to be raised by a woman whose livelihood for her and her daughter are provided by Rose. It’s not a happy life. Vera is only allowed to see her mother on sporadic visits to Rose’s mansion in the dead of the night. Vera is tough at this young age, but we don’t get to see just how tough and smart until her mettle is really tested when the She’s feisty and fifteen when we first meet Vera Johnson and I liked her from the beginning. She’s the daughter of an infamous San Francisco Madame who sends her to be raised by a woman whose livelihood for her and her daughter are provided by Rose. It’s not a happy life. Vera is only allowed to see her mother on sporadic visits to Rose’s mansion in the dead of the night. Vera is tough at this young age, but we don’t get to see just how tough and smart until her mettle is really tested when the earthquake strikes in 1906. Carol Edgarian took me fully into the rubble and fire and devastation of the aftermath and into the heart of a young girl whose greatest desire is her mother’s love. There are truly amazing descriptions of the streets of San Francisco before and after, the brothels, Chinatown, the corrupt politicians of the day. The bulk of the story takes place between 1906 and 1907. Vera’s gutsiness and strength and guile are on full display as she manages to lift herself and others out of the mess left by the earthquake and her mother. This might have been five stars, but it felt rushed at the end. It moves from a year after the earthquake to a century later with Vera filling us in on her life in between in only a few pages . I wanted to be there for more of her life, to witness her continuing resilience. This is, though, a wonderful piece of historical fiction giving a view of this horrible event, a reflection of the time and place and an unforgettable character. I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster through Edelweiss.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    What a pleasure to read! Many thanks to NetGalley and Scribnerbooks for the opportunity to read and review this novel. This is my first read by author Carol Edgarian but it will not be the last. Our novel centers on the hero Vera Johnson and her life in the early 1900’s. Vera is a scrappy survivor who I instantly began rooting for. At just 15 years old, Vera survives the unimaginable, the great San Francisco earthquake and must learn to rebuild her life. An amazing cast of characters, of whom Dr What a pleasure to read! Many thanks to NetGalley and Scribnerbooks for the opportunity to read and review this novel. This is my first read by author Carol Edgarian but it will not be the last. Our novel centers on the hero Vera Johnson and her life in the early 1900’s. Vera is a scrappy survivor who I instantly began rooting for. At just 15 years old, Vera survives the unimaginable, the great San Francisco earthquake and must learn to rebuild her life. An amazing cast of characters, of whom Dr. Sugarman was by far my favorite, supports Vera. The main theme running through the work was Vera’s desire to be seen, heard and loved. Growing up with her foster family and all but abandoned by her mother Rose, SF’s more reputable madam, Vera struggles to find her place and purpose. There were two scenes, one with Morie in her room one night, and another with Rose in Part 3 that ripped my heart apart. I highly recommend this book.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.