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A Race to Splendor

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  921 ratings  ·  150 reviews

"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 chee

Paperback, 526 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks, Incorporated
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(showing 1-30 of 2,825)
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San Francisco, 1906. Amelia Bradshaw returns home from her architectural studies in Paris only to find her beloved grandfather dead and the family's grand hotel on Nob Hill lost by her drunken fool of a father during a game of cards. Amelia loses her legal battle with the winner of the card game, J.D. Thayer, and takes employment with her mentor, architect Julia Morgan. And just who is Julia Morgan do you ask? You can read about her on the net, but her most famous project is the little house tha ...more
The back cover blurb said this novel was about the rivalry between two female architects during the rebuilding of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. It's due to that description that I borrowed this book, but I didn't exactly get what was promised.

There are some excellent descriptions of San Francisco, the earthquake and the rebuilding. I could also well believe the grafting and other illegalities that went on during that period. Such practices went on in several of America's cities during
Amelia Bradshaw has worked hard. As a thirty-year old woman in 1906, she has received her bachelor’s degree in engineering at UC Berkley and her degree in architecture from L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. After receiving her degree in architecture, she returned home to San Francisco, only to discover that her father has gambled away her and her mother’s inheritance, the grand Bay View Hotel. J.D. Thayer, the scoundrel son of a respected San Francisco family is now the proud owner of the hotel. ...more
Lindsey Pogue
This was a well written, wonderfully developed book that have characters I loved, all while I was learning a lot about the great 1906 Earthquake and the history of San Francisco in general. However, the first half of this book had so many details and so much description I found myself struggling to get halfway through. Once I did, it was smooth sailing, but the fact that I found myself skimming through parts of the book just doesn't make for a 5 star book for me. I really did enjoy the meat of t ...more
Amelia Bradshaw arrives in San Francisco in 1906 to take over her grandfather's hotel only to find her father has gambled it away. The judge upholds that her father had every right to gamble it away and hands it over to blackguards J.D. Thayer and Ezra Kemp.
A few days later the earthquake and fire reduce the hotel to ashes. As a fully trained architect, Amelia's services are suddenly very much wanted especially by J.D.Thayer.
A mixture of feminism, minority racism, prejudices and a city rising fr
Laura Hartness
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 24, 2011 Sheree rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical fiction lovers
This was such a fascinating story, delving into the devastating history of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, the aftermath and recovery. A blend of history and artistic licence laced with suspense, drama, romance, and political corruption giving readers a captivating and moving account.

I knew of the existence of architect Julia Morgan but little else and whilst she didn't inspire my affection in Race to Splendor, Ciji Ware certainly inspired me to read a little more about this histori
This book is an amazing tribute to one woman's struggle to be treated as an equal in a world ruled by men. It also defines and brilliantly portrays the human spirit's battle to fight to survive despite seemingly overwhelming odds and never-ending challenges. The attention to historical detail of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, including its aftermath, which Ms. Ware weaves beautifully throughout the story, is amazing. I loved learning about Julia Morgan, the famed architect of the Fairmont ...more
April Dinucci
I love, love, love, loved this book! Ciji Ware has yet to disapoint. This novel was an epic love story told over the devastation of San Francisco at the brink of the 20th century following the earthquake of 1906.
Ms. Ware's breathtaking descriptions of San Francisco and the surrounding landscapes had me in awe. The tragic love story was beautiful and sweet. Ms. Bradshaw and Mr. Thayer were truly loveable characters that persevered through a love that was fraught with peril and professionally forb
While the previous book I read about the 1906 earthquake took place in the days prior to and during the trembler, A Race to Splendor takes place during the quake and the next year afterward as the city starts rebuilding. You get a unique perspective of what it was like to be a refugee after this disaster – in the Presidio make-shift hospital as well as trying to find somewhere to live amongst all the crumbled buildings. Most of the plot focuses on the competition between the Fairmont and the Bay ...more
Christy B
Give me a book about an strong, independent woman fighting against prejudice to fulfill her dreams and be treated as an equal, then I'm most likely going to love it.

So, yes, I loved A Race to Splendor, which is the story of a fictional architect named Amelia Hunter Bradshaw. It's 1906, and upon her grandfather's death, Amelia returns to San Francisco to claim her inheritance: the Bay View Hotel, only to find her drunken father has gambled it away to a one Mr. James Diaz Thayer.

After then eventu
Colleen Turner
I first reviewed this book for the blog

A Race To Splendor begins in early 1906 with Amelia Bradshaw returning to San Francisco after completing her degree in architecture from the distinguished L ‘ Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. She is returning under both exciting and devastating circumstances: she hopes to land a position in the architectural firm of her friend and mentor Julia Morgan (in actuality the first woman to graduate with a degree in architecture from the same Pari
Kitty Honeycutt

This book had everything I love, a strong woman, an equally strong man, headbutting, that ends in a love story... it was perfect. Ciji Ware definitely knows how to write a prominent historical novel with just the right amounts of drama, romance, history, and excitement. I fully intend to look for more of her works in the near future. The author constantly amazed me with her knowledge of the history in the early 1900's and just how hard it was for a woma
Tara Chevrestt
This has been a fun read. I love the heroine, Amelia. I was hooked from the very beginning when she marches into the middle of a poker game and demands her hotel back to when she is learning to drive and demands that her "instructor" goes and hides behind a tree to when she fires men from the job site and brandishes a weapon to defend herself. She's a wonderfully strong heroine.

It's 1906 and Amelia comes home to San Francisco from France with a degree in architecture only to discover that her dr
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Sampson
What I liked:
-history of San Francisco
-learning about the devastation of the 1906 earthquake
-learning about architecture
-learned about the plight of the Chinese
-the main characters were flawed but likeable
What I didn't like:
-what's with the lusty night together? It really wasn't necessary and did not endear me to the characters or the story. Felt like it was thrown in because, well, isn't that what readers want?
My answer: NO! At least not me. I am a sucker for romance but could do without the de
I had a chance to have lunch with Ciji Ware during a recent writers conference. Knowing this ahead of time I thought I should read at least one of her books.

A Race to Splendor seems well researched and the novel is expertly crafted. Romance is not a genre I'm much interested in, but the historical aspects of the book kept me engaged. It is a book I would recommend, especially to those who enjoy the genre. I didn't rate it higher simply because I'm mentally ranking it against the best books I've
I was really looking forward to this book, having read and enjoyed a few of Ciji Ware's pieces before. Unfortunately, this was not one of her best. The premise seemed promising - a story about female architects in the wake of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. However, it turned into a hugely predictable, entirely too long book with too little history and too much poorly written "will they, won't they?" I had planned to read a few other books by Ware, but now I'm definitely going to hol ...more
A very enlightening story describing in detail the 1906 earthquake that took place in San Francisco and the efforts required to rebuild the city. In addition, learning about Julia Morgan, who was the first licensed architect in California, hired to rebuild the Fairmount hotel (and after designed the Hearst Castle), which was a very impressive accomplishment for a woman in that time. The fictional portion of the story was enjoyable too, although as a previous reviewer mentioned, even though it st ...more
This is a fiction book written by a journalist, that taught me so much about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. I just didn't realize the devastation and destruction, I think I read the 500 or so dead that was reported officially, I forget that we have always had an immigration problem, and really it was 10 times that amount. More than 5000 people most likely. I forget how hard women had to work in the early 1900's to be allowed to work. A woman architect would most likely just be allowed to ...more
This is a historical novel about the era of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, so while not every detail is true, it definitely gives a feeling for what it was like trying to rebuild the city with everyone out for himself of herself. It especially aimed the light of reality on what it was like at that time for women of any race and for any people who were races other than white or were racially mixed. I had no idea there was even a female architect involved in rebuilding the city but there su ...more
I do not like chick-lit. I don’t really enjoy melodramatic plots about falling in and out of love and finding Mr. Right. However, on ocassion, I will pick up a suspiciously fluffy book and enjoy myself, but only if I’m in the right mood. Specifically, I have to be in the mindset where I can laugh off the silliness, rather than roll my eyes and bang my head against my Nook.

Luckily, A Race to Splendor caught me on one of my rare sappy moods, and as a result, I was massively entertained by Ciji War
Blodeuedd Finland
My thoughts:

This was my first book by Ware and I certainly hope it will not be my last because it was a good one. It's set against the backdrop of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the fires that destroyed much of the city. Early on tragedy strikes and then we get to see how the city is rebuilt. Or should we say how two hotels are rebuilt.

Ware took the real historical character of Julia Morgan and let her finish her Fairmont hotel, and then she created the main character and let her work for
Kathleen Kelly
A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware, is a very well researched novel about the 1906 earthquake.
The San Francisco earthquake took the lives of approximately 3000 people and left more than 200,000 homeless.
The book also tells the story of Julia Morgan, a woman architect, who is far ahead of her time. In a world that generally did not accept women to have educations let alone enter a man's world as a professional architect.
Julia Morgan is a real person of history who studied and graduated from Ecole
Linda Banche
Ciji Ware sets off seismic waves of her own in A RACE TO SPLENDOR, an earth-shaking triumph of a novel about a woman architect battling the male establishment in San Francisco in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.

Amelia Hunter Bradshaw returns from completing her architect degree in Paris to find her drunken, irresponsible father has gambled away the Bay View Hotel, which her deceased grandfather left to her. To add insult to injury, her father lost the hotel to the disreputable J.D. Thayer,
I had mixed feelings about this book. For starters, I felt like I was reading two different books. The first half really focuses on the rebuilding of San Francisco and the history of the 1906 earthquake and its aftermath. There were great social issues raised and I found myself wanting to research the subject to learn more.

The second half of the book was more or less a romance novel (minus all the steamy scenes). The switch was a bit jarring for me, to be completely honest, and while I loved th
(3.5 stars) This book is set in San Francisco, just prior to the 1906 earthquake. Amelia Bradshaw, has just returned from France after completing her architecture degree, following in the footsteps of Julia Morgan. She is returning to wrest back control of her family's hotel and begin practicing her craft. She is unlucky on both counts, but manages to get some night work from Morgan and is unfortunate enough to be caught in the great earthquake. Surviving, she heads to her family's hotel and is ...more
I'm not sure where I picked up the recommendation for this book, though it was definitely one of the book blogs I read. I am so glad I did, however, as this was a fantastic book.

The book centers on a young woman, Amelia Bradshaw, who is the second woman to graduate with an architecture degree in Paris, as she returns to her beloved San Francisco in 1906 only to find that her father has wrongfully and illegally gambled away the hotel that was her home and inheritance from her grandfather. Women's
Newly certified as one of the world's few female architects, Amelia Bradshaw returns to San Francisco from Paris in hopes of finding employment with her former friend and classmate, Julia Morgan. Julia has made a name for herself after becoming the first female graduate of Paris' prestigious architectural school and Amelia hopes to become her protege and make enough money to save her family's Bay View Hotel from her drunkard father's reckless spending and mismanagement after her beloved grandfat ...more
San Francisco, 1906. Amelia Bradshaw returns home from her architectural studies in Paris only to find her beloved grandfather dead and the family's grand hotel on Nob Hill lost by her drunken fool of a father during a game of cards. Amelia loses her legal battle with the winner of the card game, J.D. Thayer, and takes employment with her mentor, architect Julia Morgan. And just who is Julia Morgan do you ask? You can read about her on the net, but her most famous project is the little house tha ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 09, 2015 08:43AM  
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Ciji Ware, a graduate of Harvard University in History, is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical and contemporary fiction, and two works of nonfiction. Her latest release is THAT WINTER IN VENICE, a "tale of two cities--Venice and New Orleans-- and the rising waters threatening a glittering ball and two globetrotting Americans seeking a port in the storm." A former radi ...more
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