About to embark on a trip around the world, Edith and her maid are instead swept up in the disorder and turmoil generated by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The two young women find themselves stranded in the city, initially in search of Edith's father but ultimately trying to survive and help other displaced residents. Their harrowing adventures are captured on film by Edith, a character based on the real photographer Edith Irvine. Along the way, the girls connect with a variety of citizens, including (incredibly) Jack London, Enrico Caruso, and a drunken John Barrymore. While the photographic device is interesting, at times it threatens to control the story, and the language of the era sounds stilted. However, Gregory brings the emotions, chaos, and governmental coverups to life, and readers (especially those knowledgeable about the city) will keep reading to see how the girls and San Francisco fare.