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Vera
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Vera

A Novel

Bookseller Recommendation

Vera

“Experience the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 like never before — from inside the family of one of the most famous brothel madams. In this story, Edgarian combines lyrical writing and a cast of unforgettable characters, both real and imagined, with themes of love, rejection, graft, and economic disparity, all sprinkled with racism and misogyny. You won’t be able to visit the City by the Bay ever again without looking for Rose and her descendants. I couldn’t put this down.”

Changing Hands image Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands

Description

“An all-encompassing and enthralling historical novel, Vera parallels with the current era.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

New York Times bestselling author Carol Edgarian delivers a grand adventure set in 1906 San Francisco featuring an unforgettable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe, and her quest for love and reinvention.

Meet Vera Johnson, fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello. 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 quiet domestic life of the family paid to raise her.

On the morning of the great quake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Disregarding societal norms and prejudices, Vera begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors, navigating through the disaster together.

In Vera, Carol Edgarian creates a cinematic, deeply entertaining world, in which honor and fates are tested; notions of sex, class, and justice are turned upside down; and love is hard-won. A ravishing, heartbreaking, and profound affirmation of youth and tenacity, Vera’s story brings to life legendary characters—tenor Enrico Caruso, indicted mayor Eugene Schmitz and boss Abe Ruef, tabloid celebrity Alma Spreckels.

This richly imagined, timely tale of improbable outcomes and alliances takes hold from the first page, with remarkable scenes of devastation, renewal, and joy. Vera celebrates the audacious fortitude of its young heroine, who discovers an unexpected strength in unprecedented times.


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