In 1904, Lily Anne O’Brien arrives in San Francisco, a city teeming with promise, not unlike the twelve-year-old herself. Captivated by the curiosities of North Beach, Chinatown, and the wicked Barbary Coast, she reciprocates by beguiling San Francisco society with her angelic singing voice and seductive beauty.
The Great Earthquake of 1906 destroys her home. To remain in San Francisco, she scandalously marries Kevin Riley, a twenty-seven-year-old gambler. At age 15, she gives birth to a daughter, Charlotte, who is destined to live in the shadow of her mother’s beauty, talent, and limitless self-regard.
Based on actual people and events known to the 92-year-old author, Lily Anne’s story is rich in historic detail and covers four decades of the love affair between the flamboyant woman and her vibrant city. She transforms from reckless teenager, to divorced single-parent, to successful entrepreneur, and ultimately becomes an eccentric relic of a by-gone era.