Based on fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, set in 1905 - 1906 San Francisco.
Rosalind Hawkins is a medieval scholar from a fine family in Chicago. Unfortunately, her professor father has speculated away the family money and died, leaving young Rosalind with no fortune and no future. Desolate with grief, forced to cut her education short, she agrees to go Wet to take a job as governess to a wealthy man in San Francisco. A boom townin the 1850s, in 1905 San Francisco is the center of culture in the new West, and perhaps there she will rediscover a reason for living.
But when she arrives at Jason Cameron's mansion on a hill overlooking the Pacific, she discovers there are no children, not even a wife, in residence: just the gentleman himself and his enigmatic manservant. Penniless, Rosalind stays despite her misgivings. For the household is very odd indeed. Despite there being but one servant, the huge house is immaculate and food is prepared and served in the most elegant manner. Oddest of all is the master of hte house" Rosalind never sees him, but communicates only through a speaking--tube, and only at night. But then ... she is happy. For her job in the household is to read to him: Latin, French, Greek German - and she feels herself coming alive once more.
As for Jason Cameron, through his contact with Rosalind, he, too, is renewed. An Adept and Alchemist, Master of the Element of Fire, he had attempted the old French werewolf transformation - and bungled it. Stuck in wolf form, over the years hew had slowly been losing his humanity. Rosalind is bringing it sack to him. But when a rival alchemist offers Rosalind the chance to restore her family's fortune in exchange for Jason's secret, who will she side with? And then the earthquake strikes ...