When Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg arrives in San Francisco from Baltimore in December, 1905, to begin a medical practice funded by wealthy matrons, she's not only running toward a new life-she's running away from her old one. Threats from a ruthless brother, who threatened to expose her affair with a woman, make Elizabeth determined not to compromise her reputation as she begins this new phase of her life. All is well, until she meets Maggie Weston.
Maggie is a vibrant woman, a photographer with a thriving studio on Market Street. She also harbors a secret, which brought her to San Francisco from Boston a few years before. Her work and her independence are fulfilling. She thinks she doesn't need anything more in her new life other than her photography and her volunteer work at the Quaker Mission-that is, until Elizabeth Kellogg walks into her shop.
The two women begin a friendship that leads to both wanting more. They feel the tremble and burn of love akin to their own personal earthquake. But will Elizabeth's desire to keep both their reputations free from gossip and dishonor, and Maggie's struggle with her own feelings, keep them from the love blossoming between them? And will the devastation of the San Francisco earthquake and fire keep them from having what both women know is their destiny?