A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
A Race to Splendor

A Race to Splendor

3.7 53
by Ciji Ware
     
 

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"Blindly, she inched along a floor pitching as violently as the deck of a boat in a midwinter storm. Her hands touched the threshold opening onto the ninth floor foyer at the instant the glass transom over her head exploded into a thousand pieces. Reflexively, Amelia cast her right arm in front of her face, but not before blood spurted from her scalp and ran

Overview

"Blindly, she inched along a floor pitching as violently as the deck of a boat in a midwinter storm. Her hands touched the threshold opening onto the ninth floor foyer at the instant the glass transom over her head exploded into a thousand pieces. Reflexively, Amelia cast her right arm in front of her face, but not before blood spurted from her scalp and ran down her checks. She crumpled beneath the doorframe, curling into a ball. Amelia screamed again as a twenty-five-foot expanse of wood paneling and masonry pitched outward and plunged nine stories to Montgomery Street below. She knew that no structure on landfill, no matter how well built, could withstand much more shaking without collapsing.

Then, just as suddenly, the convulsions subsided."

Early in 1906, the ground in San Francisco shook buildings and lives from their comfortable foundations.

Amidst rubble, corruption, and deceit, two women-young architects in a city and field ruled by men-find themselves racing the clock and each other during the rebuilding of competing hotels in the City by the Bay.

Based on meticulous research, A Race to Splendor tells the story of the audacious people of one of the world's great cities rebuilding and reinventing themselves after immense human tragedy. Filled with courage, passion, and conflict, Amelia Bradshaw's spirit will capture your imagination as she strives to redraft her life amidst the ruins with both help and hindrance from a wayward son of privilege who pulls her into worlds she'd never have known.

"Richly drawn characters...will keep you turning these pages!"
-Michael Llewellyn, author of Twelfth Night

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For her sixth novel (after A Light on the Veranda), Ware returns to historicals with an unlikely romance framed around San Francisco's devastating earthquake of 1906. New architect Amelia Bradshaw returns to the city to claim what's left of the Bay View, her grandfather's hotel next to Chinatown, only to find that her drunkard father has lost it to J.D. Thayer in a poker game. After an unsuccessful court battle—at a time when women had no right of possession—Bradshaw takes a job as junior architect under Julia Morgan, the first licensed female architect in California history. When Morgan's firm is selected to rebuild the Bay View, along with its competitor, the Fairmont, Bradshaw is put in charge of the former, forcing her to work closely with Mr. Thayer, her adversary, who is determined to beat the anniversary of the quake and the opening of the Fairmont. In time, Bradshaw and Thayer learn that they have more in common than they think, and Bradshaw grows close to some of the Chinese workers, giving Ware a chance to chronicle the despair faced by that community during the disaster. Ware's trailblazing woman is a feisty host for an affecting story of the struggle to rise above the wreckage of mankind. (Apr.)
RT Book Reviews
Meticulously researched, this richly detailed novel, whose earthquake scenes are so real that readers will believe they are witnessing the event, will enthrall... an unforgettable story. 4 1/2 Stars
From the Publisher
"Ware's trailblazing woman is a feisty host for an affecting story of the struggle to rise above the wreckage of mankind." - Publishers Weekly

"Meticulously researched, this richly detailed novel, whose earthquake scenes are so real that readers will believe they are witnessing the event, will enthrall... an unforgettable story. 4 1/2 Stars " - RT Book Reviews

"A Race to Splendor is a penetrating look at what it takes to survive and what it means to succeed in a city that has literally crumbled. Greed and envy, anger and rage, love and lust all make an appearance in this fascinating exploration of human nature. The intriguing, dedicated personalities in Ware's latest release provide an excellent source of information about the San Francisco tragedy as well as captivating entertainment." - ForeWord

""Vividly evocative of the time and place, Ware's first novel in ten years deftly blends history and romance in a page-turning story. From her gripping descriptions of the earthquake and its aftermath to the interplay between the protagonists, this is another winner from an excellent wordsmith."

" - Library Journal

"For me, the story itself was a winner. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the author's note and her acknowledgements as they were filled with expressions of her inspiration for this story and the historical research she did that brought about A Race to Splendor, which I think is an ode to courageous and extraordinary women who have contributed greatly to history but have largely been ignored.
" - Library of Clean Reads

Ciji Ware continues to shine a spotlight on women's accomplishments in history. Highly recommended, this novel glows with a careful blend of history and romance

Her writing is pleasant and it's clearly evident that she's done her homework.

I could barely put A Race to Splendor down once I would pick it up to start reading. The story moved effortlessly with amazing detail. No doubt explicitly researched, A Race to Splendor was a top notch novel that showed the aftermath of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 through the eyes of a determined woman.

I really enjoyed "A Race to Splendor." Ciji Ware is an incredible writer, and her research is flawless. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will enjoy this one.

I found the writing to be very believable that I could relate to the damage that this earthquake had done to property and people in San Francisco.

A Race to Splendor is fast paced, meticulously detailed, events come to life as do the characters, and Ware sweeps the reader away with her ability to transform readers into the past. I highly recommend A Race to Splendor to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or is new to the genre.

My first Ciji Ware novel but definitely not my last; the pages literally turn themselves!

Ware's research is impeccable and she brings these situations and circumstances to life for readers. She gives a face to a tragedy that many don't know much about and I thought she did a wonderful job of it.

A Race to Splendor is pitch perfect! While it is a hefty book, at no time does the storyline drag or feel forced. I immensely enjoyed watching Amelia and J.D.'s relationship shift and grow and to see how my opinions of each of the characters, both prominent and secondary, changed as more information was revealed.

A Race to Splendor brings to light many social issues, such as women's rights and the rights of the Chinese immigrants forced into servitude at the turn of the 20th century, while also promoting how everyone has the chance to change, even those most likely not to. If you enjoy historical fiction, you won't be disappointed with this gem.

This is a book that I would recommend to fans of historical fiction, and to the rest of you too. It has romance, suspense, and backstabbing.

I loved A Race to Splendor. Ciji Ware's storytelling was fantastic. Just when you think things are going well, a new wrench gets thrown into the mix. I read this book pretty quickly as I was always wondering what would happen next. The earthquake and fire description were riveting. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, San Francisco starring Clark Gable.

Ciji Ware's A Race to Splendor can not be missed! What an epic novel full of heart thumping action, suspense, drama and romance! It contains perfect elements of history to awaken our dormant interest into past events long forgotten. Ware succeeds in grabbing our attention from the moment we learn of her inspiration in the Author's Note to the prologue with Amelia's beseechingly sad letter to Julia Morgan. Chapter One explodes with Amelia's own determination to vex the men of their claim to the Bay View Hotel.

Ciji Ware is acknowledged as one of the best historical fiction authors, and she does not disappoint in A Race to Splendor. Meticulously researched, she transports the reader to turn of the century San Francisco and makes them feel the devastation and the pioneering spirit that rebuilt the city.

Another big thumbs up to Ms. Ware for writing well-rounded baddies and showing us why they're bad instead of telling us with snarling lips, stinking breath and feral smiles.

A Race to Splendor is an entertaining summer read.

Library Journal
Amelia Bradshaw's return to 1906 San Francisco after earning a degree in architecture should have been cause for celebration. But her family hotel has been gambled away to J.D. Thayer by her sot of a father, and the law in the form of corrupt judges does not support her. Worse, school friend and mentor Julia Morgan is unable to make good on her offer of a position for Amelia. In an instant, an earthquake reduces Amelia's problems, along with much of the city, to rubble, and the aftermath brings changes she could never have foreseen. Drawn into the frenzy to rebuild San Francisco, Amelia is also drawn to J.D.'s potent allure. VERDICT Vividly evocative of the time and place, Ware's (Island of the Swans) first novel in ten years deftly blends history and romance in a page-turning story. From her gripping descriptions of the earthquake and its aftermath to the interplay between the protagonists, this is another winner from an excellent wordsmith.—Pam O'Sullivan, Coll. at Brockport Lib., SUNY
Kirkus Reviews
Floors pitch violently, buildings collapse, San Francisco disintegrates and bosoms heave.

Were there women in the professions in 1906? Yes. Were they uncommon? Yes. Were any of them architects? Apparently. Were they full of bodice-ripping passion? Well, for that, you'll need to turn to this sometimes steamy, more often merely humid yarn. Amelia Hunter Bradshaw is a feminist pioneer, quite happy to shock the good citizens of California with her demands for suffrage and her perky proclamations: "It's a new century, Mr. Thayer, and we 'females,' as you put it, are quite capable of seeing to our own affairs." So it appears, though a brawny pair of arms and hungry set of lips have their place in the proceedings, too. Amelia knows her way around an I-beam, as we learn courtesy of Ware's constant exposition: "From what we've seen so far," Amelia's partner in the building trades asserts, "it looks as if we'll have to start in the basement and methodically work our way to the sky with reinforcing construction," to which our heroine replies: "At least the basement's already cleared of rubble and shorn up with support posts."Alas, the prose bumps along like a bowling ball descending a shaky staircase, as witness the opening sentence: "James Diaz Thayer scooped the deck of cards bearing his initials into a pile on top of the late Charlie Hunter's desk in the bowels of Nob Hill's celebrated Bay View Hotel." Anyone up for diagramming that one? Things don't get much better, though there are some competently imagined scenes of death and destruction, and even of smooching. The tale grinds along like a right-lateral strike-slip fault to a long-awaited end that, regrettably, does not include much elastic rebound. In her favor, Amelia is nicer than Howard Roark and a worse shot than Leon Czolgosz, but that's about the best that can be said for this book.

A novel in need of a solid foundation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402222696
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
04/01/2011
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
1,205,919
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.15(d)

Meet the Author

Ciji Ware has been an Emmy-Award winning television producer, reporter, writer, lecturer, and radio host. A Harvard graduate in history, she has written numerous fiction and non-fiction books, including the award-winning Island of the Swans. She and her husband of three decades live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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