"In 1894, Mrs. Putnam took Lizzie Hayes to the Mid-winter Exhibition in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, where they both used a telephone for the very first time."
"San Francisco in the Gilded Age: great fortunes are being made and family dynasties established as new money erases the often unsavory pasts and shady dealings of their founders. It is a city bursting at its seams - each day bringing new monuments to unbridled ego and ostentatious bad taste - a city ruled by a self-selected elite grounded in gentility and fueled by gossip and greed.
By dint of birth, Lizzie Hayes is part of this elite. But Lizzie, seemingly so docile, hides within her a passionate heart. All she needs is the spark that will liberate her from the ruling conventions. And that spark is Mary Ellen Pleasant. With her appearance on Lizzie's doorstep, she brings not only mystery and a whiff of disrepute, but also the key that will unlock Lizzie's rebellious nature. 'You can do anything you want,' she tells Lizzie. 'You don't have to be the same person your whole life.'" -- from the inside flap
This book was an interesting historical fiction set in late 19th century San Francisco. Appearances, both real and imagined, are important as well as maintaining one's reputation. I liked how Lizzie gradually broke away from convention to find her own path without relying on the opinions of others.
Date read: 2/29/2008
Book #: 13
Series: Winter Reading Challenge, Reading My Name Challenge, Celebrate the Author Challenge
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 321