It's 1906 and Amelia comes home to San Francisco from France with a degree in architecture only to discover that her drunken father has gambled away her inheritance, a fine hotel called the Bay View, away to a rogue, J.D. Amelia takes the rogue to court but it being 1906.... well.. she loses, of course.
J.D. doesn't have long to gloat, however, as the hotel winds up ruined during the great earthquake and fire. Fate plays horrible tricks, however, and Amelia, now employed by famous architect Julia Morgan, is assigned the daunting task of rebuilding her former hotel... but not for herself.. for J.D.
What follows is a "race" between Amelia and Julia. Julia is rebuilding the Fairmont, another fine hotel and both women aim to have their assigned hotels built and open by the earthquake's anniversary. However, J.D. is an idiot. He doesn't listen. He constantly deals with shady characters, employs bad people, angers everyone, and to make a long story short, his dealings cause lots of problems on the Bay View site... fire, blackmail, beatings....
And yet, the strong, independent Amelia falls for him anyway??? This is the what made no sense to me throughout the novel and why I gave the book a four instead of a five. Amelia, this guy stole your inheritance... he made you look incompetent.. took advantage of your father and grandfather... left you and your mother penniless and you want to bang him? Hmmmmm.
I grew weary of J.D. and all his crap, his dealings with Kemp, his dad... all that stuff. I didn't like the man and even in the end when he "explained" himself, I didn't like him and I didn't like the decision Amelia made. It just didn't "fit" with the kind of woman I was envisioning her to be up to that point.
I absolutely loved the writing style, however, and the look into who Julia Morgan may have been. I enjoyed the architecture and Amelia's spunk. Until the last quarter when I got tired of J.D's idiocy, I was enthralled.
Four stars and I received this ARC from a friend