Awake Unto Me tells the story of Kerry, an orphan from the Barbary Coast who becomes a cook in the famous Palace Hotel. She falls in love with Beth who grew up in a middle class family in the Mission District and becomes an Army nurse. Their journey is marked by secrets and separations. They receive support from Kerry's guardian, Dr. Addison Grant. Time frame is turn of century (1898) San Francisco.
Beth and Kerry's story continues with challenges to them as individuals and to their relationship. Beth wants to attend medical school but they have financial issues.
Joining Beth, Kerry, Addison and Esther in their household is new doctor from back east, Norah. She becomes romantically involved with naturalist Abby Eliot just as SF residents face the 1906 earthquake and fire.