Parts Four and Five of LZB Synopsis

Part Four, Scene One, Page 55, January, 1889

In the morning of John’s departure to SF and Berkeley, everyone prepares for his farewell picnic at the Mesa. 


Part Four, Scene Two, January, 1889

While waiting for the northbound steamer to arrive, John’s family and friends have a farewell picnic on the Mesa by the lighthouse. David tells Sarah that he finally wrote to his father telling him about Lailah and where they are now living. This moves Lailah centerstage in the novel. He still believes this will have a sad outcome.

Mention is made of potential complications with David’s giving piano lessons to Senora Estudillo.


Part Four, Scene Three, January, 1889

At Stearn’s Wharf, before boarding the coastal passenger steamer, John meets his UC professor and his daughter who are on their way from LA to SF.

Scene Three ends the first part of John’s story (he returns later in the book).


Part Four, Scene Four, February, 1889

Lailah receives her first letter from her grandfather.

This scene continues Lailah’s days in paradise and becoming part of the Zepeda family. These paradise days are the calm before the potential storm of Lailah’s grandfather’s arrival. A storm because of the possibility of Lailah having to leave SB. Charles’ continued love for Lailah is also shown. Lailah meets Captain Argent.

ML meets Wen Shichu, a self-educated son of the local Triad boss who wants to hire her to tutor his niece and nephew, but ML is disinclined.


Part Four, Scene Five, February, 1889

David witnesses Lailah horse racing on State Street,

This scene develops the theme of Lailah’s Big Race which is in the story to illustrate Lailah’s bold and brave personality.


Part Four, Scene Six, March, 1889

This scene continues illustrating Lailah in paradise: Danny, Lailah, and Charles have a sailing adventure.

Also, mention is made for the first time of Lailah becoming a Zepeda, in her mind by marrying into the family and to Danny; Charles wishes it were him. But Danny assumes she means by being adopted. First mention is made of Lailah having to become Catholic if she joined the family.

Because of them falling in the water, Charles comes in close physical contact with Lailah and falls even more in love with her. Danny and Tobias notice this accident and discuss Charles’ feelings for Lailah.


Part Four, Scene Seven, March, 1889

The dinner after the sailing adventure; a letter from John is read; Wen Shichu, a photographer who owns a studio in LA pays a visit.

This scene introduces John’s discontent with Berkeley, possibly homesickness, but more likely a desire for a better and higher level of education; a set-up for him eventually going to school in Europe.

Wen Shichu convinces Miss Louie to tutor his niece and nephew, sets up the possibility of a romantic relationship between WS and ML.

End of Part 4


Part Five, Scene One, Page 75, April, 1889

The Colonel’s fandango, Lailah and Sandy becomes friends, and a date is set for the big race.

This scene illustrates the divide between Lailah and some of the local girls, and it further shows Lailah’s musical talent (she performs a flamenco dance). Sandy is introduced and for the first time Lailah has a friend outside of the family. Charles dances with Lailah, and they are both shown to be enjoying the physical contact.


Part Five Scene Two, Last week of April, 1889

Danny reveals to Sandy the negative aspects of Lailah’s big race: The town’s middle-class disapproves of her riding in an unladylike fashion.

This short scene presents the first storm cloud over Lailah’s paradise – the pursuit of her dream might cause problems for Sarah, a mother-figure she loves and never wants to be separated from.


Part Five, Scene Three, Last week of April, ’89

Lailah wins the big race. This short scene shows Lailah’s excellent riding ability. It could be seen as the happiest day of her new life in Paradise.

Also: David meets Sandy’s mother, Jane. This will develop into complications later on in the book.


Part Five, Scene Four, Page 79, Last week of April, 1889

Same day as Scene Three: the party afterwards This short scene, in which Charles details to Sandy, the delicate relationship the Zepeda family has with SB’s Protestant population. He tells her: “a certain amount of anti-Catholic sentiment. And some of that bias gets added to their disdain for Miss Louie being an equal member of our family. Miss Louie also puts beehives in their bonnets by being better at doctoring than the local certified doctors. All of that was festering in their tiny little hearts long before we adopted a Jewish man and his daughter.”

This illustrates why the Zepeda family is not greatly concerned that Lailah will scotch Sarah’s dreams of building a hotel. But it also shows why Lailah might feel guilty and personally responsible.


Part Five, Scene Five, Last week of April, 1889

The day after the Scenes Three and Four day: Lailah and Sandy take their first lessons from the widow, and Danny gets into a fight defending Lailah’s honor. This scene shows Lailah’s and Sandy’s growing best-friendship. Danny’s fight gives Lailah her first suspicion of the possibility she might be a burden to the family.

Sarah announces that needed investors have pulled out of the hotel deal; and a ladies’ riding club is planned. After Sarah’s announcement, she and Lailah have a heart to heart and become even more emotionally attached. With this storm seemingly over and life in paradise seemingly secured, Mr. Mendes’ pending visit portends to be an even greater assault on Lailah’s happiness and dreams.


Part Five, Scene Six, Page 84, First week of May, 1889

Dance lessons with new friends at the widow’s adobe; The widow sees David flirting with Jane.

This scene illustrates the potential danger to Lailah’s happiness by her father flirting with Jane and thereby angering the potentially dangerous widow.

The sailboat camp-out with Captain Argent is planned.

Lailah receives two gifts from her grandfather, Benjamin Machado Mendes. The first gift reveals Mr. Mendes’ interest in Lailah remaining Jewish. The second gift, a cameo brooch sets up Mr. Mendes’ later discovery that Lailah looks exactly like his deceased wife. Lailah is saddened, possibly because she now realizes how much she’s missed by not knowing her mother and grandmother. David reveals that his father is very wealthy.

David’s revealing of his father’s immense wealth emphasizes the danger Mr. Mendes presents.


Part Five, Scene Seven, Third week of May, 1889

 A dance lesson; Lailah and the widow Estudillo have an intimate conversation. We learn of the widow’s possible murder of her husband, and Lailah’s discovery of the widow’s gun.

This short scene illustrates Lailah’s growing fear that her father’s reckless behavior will endanger the continuation of her life in paradise.

Click here to go Parts Six and Seven of the synopsis.