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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Carol Edgarian delivers “an all-encompassing and enthralling” (Oprah Daily) novel featuring an unforgettable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe, and her quest for love and reinvention.

Meet Vera Johnson, 15-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.

“A character-driven novel about family, power, and loyalty, (San Francisco Chronicle), Vera brings to life legendary characters - tenor Enrico Caruso, indicted mayor Eugene Schmitz and boss Abe Ruef, tabloid celebrity Alma Spreckels. This “brilliantly conceived and beautifully realized” (Booklist, starred review) tale of improbable outcomes and alliances takes hold from the first word, 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.

©2021 Carol Edgarian. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Kathe Mazur carefully crafts the diverse characters in this entertaining novel. Her accents - which range from Swedish to Viennese - add to the audiobook's appeal. A talented mimic, Mazur cleverly shades the various female characters' voices. Her commanding portrayal of Rose, the absentee mother of the title character and madam of an eponymous brothel, reveals the powerful woman at her most vulnerable during the days after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Mazur's rendition of whip-smart 15-year old Vera captures her ability to see all sides of people, good and bad. Listeners will vividly imagine turn-of-the-century San Francisco, replete with scoundrels and kindly prostitutes. All are enlivened by the engaging Vera, a survivor who tells her own story." (AudioFile Magazine)

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What listeners say about Vera

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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The Phoenix here is more than San Francisco

Loved it! I learned so much about the quake of 1906 through Vera and the other characters in this novel. Reader was excellent.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A 3.75 read

It took forever to get started. Had a few really good parts then the ending just kind of faded away. I had already invested too much time in it to give up. I did learn a tad about the SF earthquake but I really didn’t know anything about it!!!

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Fix the Ending

The story was good until it seemed like the author got tired of it and it ended abruptly.

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San Francisco, 1906

Historical fiction, set against the backdrop of the 1906 earthquake. I’m not sure why, but the characters just didn’t come alive for me, especially Vera. She was just too hardened for a fifteen year old. Narration is excellent though.