From the book:

"... I'll wake up in my father's house, six years old again, with my parents still alive and sleeping down the hall, and my mother will come in and tell me about the green Irish fields unfolding clear to the sea that is the wild road leading to this magical America, this place where nothing bad ever happens.


It is 1906, and the world is about to change forever ....

April 18, 1906, San Francisco is shaken and shattered by a nightmare earthquake. Among the many victims are two teenage girls - one poor, one wealthy. Kate Keely, a strong-minded, independent orphan, has to quit high school and go to work to support herself and her elderly aunt. Jolie Logan, still recovering from an almost fatal case of scarlet fever, is devastated by the accidental death of her beautiful mother.

Their lives collide a year later, when Kate is hired as Jolie's "personal companion" - an odd combination of maid, nurse, and perhaps, friend. But the two girls are equally proud and stubborn. They are still getting used to each other when Jolie's father suddenly decides to send them to Ireland. Kate is ecstatic, until he entrusts her with the Logan family secret, one she must keep from Jolie no matter what happens.


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