One of those flossy, flummery historical novels in which the birth of kittens is an adorable high-point. Nineteen-year-old Kendra, lovely but unloved by family, hits San Francisco in 1848 and proceeds to join a party around Sutter's Mill in company with her first husband Ted, assorted sturdy males and Marney, a gambling hall pro of gentle upbringing. When Ted admits he already has a wife and cuts out, Kendra and Marney return to San Francisco where Marney builds The Calico Palace, a card and liquor emporium. Kendra weds again and loses both husband and baby. Betimes fires are burning all over the city and the Calico Palace is braised more than once.