A city on the verge of collapse. A woman ahead of her time.
Seattle, 1888. Economic ruin and dangerous riots have stripped this once-booming city of its former glories, leaving a near-empty husk. The town is ripe for reinvention, if any person has the guts - and the capital - to make Seattle their own.
Miss Lou Graham, recently arrived from San Francisco, intends to rebuild Seattle from the ground up. She has ample wealth, wits, and courage to take on the powerful Reformers, the political party that have ushered Seattle to the brink of disaster. But when she meets Amber, the tempestuous “fallen woman” who captures her heart, Lou must choose between love and her dreams of success. A lady rescuing the city is scandalous enough; will anyone in Seattle deign to work with a lady who loves other women?
As Lou struggles to revive the city and to confront her own desires, she is joined by new friends, each facing trials of their own. Jiayi still suffers from the aftermath of the anti-Chinese riots, which stranded her in Seattle two years before. Emerson must hide his past infamy from his well-bred fiancée. Lauretta, haunted by a tragic loss, embarks on an ill-advised quest to adopt a neglected child. And Amber, Lou Graham's secret love, strives to break her addiction to laudanum before the court takes her daughter away.
When an unfathomable disaster strikes Seattle, neither Lou nor her friends can hide any longer. Deception and shame will be burned away, leaving truth to rise from the ashes.
With the scope of a Michener novel and an unforgettable cast of characters, Libbie Hawker returns to historic Seattle, the setting of her best-seller Mercer Girls, finalist for the 2017 Willa Award.