Rachel, a young Jewish woman from a small town in Russia, has made an incredible journey. Forced to leave her homeland because of the anti-Semitic violence that killed her father, she made her way across land and sea to find refuge in Shanghai, China where she not only survived but managed to establish herself as a newspaper writer ? no easy task for a woman at the turn of the 20th century.
Now eighteen, Rachel remains separated from her sweetheart, Sergei, but she has finally realized her dream of coming to America. Arriving in California, she is inspired by the women she meets in the labor movement. She remains determined to go to school, and to continue her career as a journalist.
Sergei, now in Moscow, is becoming more involved in the fight for democracy and freedom of speech. But his work distributing illegal newspapers and preparing for Gorky?s revolution puts him at greater and greater risk of harsh reprisal from the Russian Tsarist government.
Rachel won't let anything stop her in her goal of starting a new life - not poverty, not even the great San Francisco earthquake. But will she ever see Sergei again?