This book is at its most interesting when it is describing the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the architectural techniques used at the time. The love story is less engrossing. The constant obstacles thrown at the couple and at their rebuilding of a hotel become tiring after a while. The villain in the book is so completely evil that he is one-dimensional and not very believable. However, I did enjoy more of this book than I disliked. The female architects are intriguing characters; their "rivalry" is fairly collegial, but still interesting.
This book wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I still enjoyed reading it. I was expecting it to be mainly about the rivalry between two female architects in the aftermath of the 1906 quake, but it ended up being more of a romance. The main character is a woman who just graduated from a prestigious architecture school in Paris and has moved back to San Francisco to work for her old school friend, Julia Morgan, who is the only female architect in the city. While there is a rivalry between the two women, it is a reluctant one, and much more of the book is devoted to the rebuilding of a hotel, and the main character's relationship with the hotel owner.
Julia Morgan was a real person and I've seen some of her buildings in San Francisco. Being from San Francisco, I really enjoyed the parts of the book describing what the city was like back then and the process of rebuilding the city. Well-researched and well-written, but I would have liked more history and less romance.