A runaway heiress . . . a legacy of shame . . . an empire built on blood and revenge . . .
The three met in the aftermath of San Francisco's devastating 1906 earthquake—the Mandarin Lai Tsin, a runaway American heiress, and a young Englishwoman. Against all odds they made their dreams come true, building one of the world’s largest trading companies and most luxurious hotels. . . . They had only each other—and bloody secrets to bury even as they rose to dizzying heights, wary of love yet vulnerable to passion in its most dangerous forms. . . . The Mandarin would pass his multi-billion-dollar empire only to the women in the Lai Tsin dynasty—along with one last devastating truth. . . .
Sweeping from the turn of the century through the 1960’s, from the Orient to San Francisco and New York, Elizabeth Adler has written a magnificent novel of new wealth and old privilege, family passions and secret shame, of women surviving, triumphant, in the riveting saga of romantic intrigue.
Adler follows up Peach and The Rich Shall Inherit with another glitzy roller-coaster saga. Using standard rags-to-riches ingredients, she gives us a trio of Cinderellas who suffer and survive their way to fortune, romance and a predictable happy ending. Set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco and Hong Kong, the novel tells the stories of lifelong friends Francie Harrison and Annie Aysgarth and of Francie's daughter Lysandra. All three are saintly women who've been hideously mistreated by the men in their lives. Indeed, virtually every male in this novel is either a brutal monster or a weakling. Fortunately, the misused heroines all fall under the benevolent influence of a mysterious Chinese mandarin, Lai Tsin; Francie, indeed, becomes his concubine. He guides them through their troubles and bequeaths them a legacy of worldly and philosophical riches. Though Adler's historical setting is appealing, the characters are stereotypes, drawn with no shades of gray, and they never come to life. The narrative drags where the author resorts to showing, not telling, and much of the plot hangs on bizarre coincidence. BOMC featured alternate.