A Race to Splendor - Ciji Ware

Title: A Race to Splendor
Author: Ciji Ware
Pages: 526
Published: 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction
Challenge(s): Support Your Library, Historical Fiction
Edition: Trade Paperback
Source: Library

Description:  "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. (from Goodreads.com)
Thoughts: For the most part the book was pretty good and was easy to get into and I enjoyed it, but thing I didn't like about the book is that the author turned the book into a romance.  Sure I don't mind it when a book has a bit of romance in it to move the story along, but when the romance becomes the overwhelming driving force of the book, it can turn me off.  And this book did turn me off slightly with that sort of mindset.  I would have liked to see more of Amelia's struggle as a female architect rather than her falling in love with somebody who comes across as her boss.  It was also a story that should have taken me a few days rather than three months to read.
Bottom line:  I would recommend the book for those readers that like having a bit of romance mixed in with their historical fiction.  Despite its length, one should get through it in a few days, if you fully concentrated on it.
Rating: 3.5/5
Pages for 2012: 17730


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