Rachel was forced to leave her home in Russia because of the anti-Semitic violence that killed her father. She made her way to Shanghai, China where she 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's labor movement and remains determined to be a journalist. Sergei, now in Moscow, is becoming more involved in the fight for democracy. But his work for the revolution puts him at 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?