Tag Archives: San Francisco

Review: Vera


By Carol Edgarian
Scribner, 9781501157523, March 2021, 336pp.

The Short of It:

Not the thrilling historical novel I expected.

The Rest of It:

I can’t recall any other stories I’ve read that were set during the San Francisco quake of 1906. For this reason, when Vera showed up on my doorstep I was very excited to read it. Much of the city was destroyed by the quake itself but whatever was left was taken by the fires that resulted from compromised gas lines and the like. In Vera, Vera and her sister Pie are left without a home, their mother killed in the quake. Young, but old enough to fend for themselves, they head to Madam Rose’s house to take refuge. But when they arrive Rose is nowhere to be seen and Vera and Pie are left wondering if she survived the quake.

You may have caught my mention of it above, Rose ran a brothel and was known to many in the area. A brothel is not a place for young girls to take refuge unless you want a reputation to go with it. However, Vera and Pie don’t have many options and when Rose’s hired man, Tan, finds a way to make a living and to keep the food on the table, Vera and Pie stick around while Vera vows to find Rose and to bring her back.

There is an interesting cast of characters in this novel and Vera is likable and plucky and determined. I enjoyed her persistence but felt that overall the story was lackluster. What could have been a thrilling adventure was only lukewarm in the telling. I was in the devastating Northridge quake, right at the epicenter and can speak from experience. It’s a harrowing event to live through and needs become known quite quickly like how will one relieve themselves when no running water exists? How will one buy supplies when there is no power and ATMs don’t work, or even filling up the gas tank to get out of town. Gas pumps do not work when there is no power. Obviously, the story is set in 1906 so these characters don’t worry about such things but I didn’t sense the immediate panic that one experiences after such a devastating event.

All in all, the story was just okay for me. I think it could have been a lot more riveting had we been given a real sense of the panic that these two women felt.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Let the Vacation from the Vacation Begin

Yosemite 2010

We just got back from vacation. We were supposed to spend a week in Yosemite, but we ran into a few problems:

Our first night there, we had to change rooms at midnight because the entire building was taken up by this one family and they were out and about and partying in the meadow, beating conga drums, kids running all over hell…I was not happy! This is Yosemite people!! Peace and quiet is what it’s all about…not your freakin’ conga playing. We called the front office and there was one other room available about two buildings over, so we packed up everything and changed rooms.

It was unusually warm and our room had no AC. None of the rooms in Yosemite have AC. The National Park does not allow it. This meant that our room was 94 degrees, as measured by the thermostat. NOT comfortable. We’ve been to Yosemite in the summer before and never had a problem with the heat. We couldn’t open the windows because they didn’t have screens and the bugs were HUGE. I don’t think I could have been more depressed after that first night there.

We used DEET-free bug spray and were we all eaten alive by the mosquitoes on our first day there. Then, because I have so many allergy issues anyway, I had an allergic reaction to the bites so I was swollen all over. From there on out, we used the fully-leaded DEET-filled spray but the damage was done.

E & E Yosemite Falls

We stayed for three days but I was so swollen and hot, that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I fired-up the laptop, found me a hotspot and booked us a room in San Francisco!

Pier 39 San Francisco

San Francisco was gorgeous!! It was about 70 degrees and our cheapie Comfort Inn room was actually quite nice and in a perfect location. We hit all the sights and had a blast!! We dined on chowda, seafood and I even got my Vietnamese noodle fix. We had a great time. As you know from my 100 things post, I am a huge planner so making these last minute plans is so not me, but I am so glad I did. I would have been miserable if we had stayed in Yosemite.

Book Passage

I managed find a bookstore too. This is Book Passage, located at the end of the Ferry building. I knew of the store from Facebook, so it was neat to visit it in person.

E at Book Passage

I didn’t buy anything though since I had just loaded up my Kindle. The Girl was working me for a puppet though. A puppet!! She’s surrounded by those luscious books and a puppet is what catches her eye. I said, “No,” in case you’re interested.

Book Passage - The Bestseller's Table

Because of all the chaos at the beginning of the vacation, I didn’t get to read more than a few chapters. Once in Frisco, I didn’t get to read at all because we were zipping all over town and never had any down time.

After many vacations I’ve learned that a few days after a vacation, can really make a difference so I asked for some additional days off.  Sort of a “vacation from the vacation.” This way, I can put things back in order, upload the pics, do a little reading and ease back into my week. There’s nothing worse than having to go back to work right after a vacation. I shudder at the thought of it.

So…I haven’t been around too much but hopefully I’ll make-up for that over the next couple of days. Hope you all had a good week and thank you for all the comments to my 100 things post. I tried to respond to as many of them as I could (from my phone), but I wasn’t always successful.

It feels good to be home! I will post the rest of the photos on Facebook for those that are interested.