Pearl Harbor and the tentacles of Word War II turn San Francisco into a raucous, electrifying city. Twenty-year-old Carmel St. John moves into this maelstrom with dreams of winning the heart of Dr. Phillip Barron and becoming a big band singer.
There, Carmel meets Caesar Almalto, a black-market kingpin, and Jerry Cassidy, a musician who helps her and hopes to win her love. Nightclub life, lust, and murder swirl around her, as does her tenuous relationship with Phillip, who leaves as a commissioned officer aboard the first hospital ship in the Pacific theater. A family crisis threatens to destroy Carmel's dreams when she is called home to San Jose to manage the family's 1,100-acre ranch during the war.
The Stone Must Break tells the saga of two families, the St. Johns and the Barrons, as they grapple with tragedy, love, and responsibility in a world at war.