*Columbus. Medium-sized industrial city in southern Ohio in which the novel opens. Jennie, the daughter of a German immigrant laborer, and her mother seek employment in the city’s “principal hotel.” While working there, she meets and is subsequently seduced by, a U.S. senator, whose illegitimate child she bears.
*Cleveland. Northern Ohio city to which most of Jennie’s family moves after she gives birth to a child and her father moves to Youngstown in search of employment. The members of the family see Cleveland as a place of superior opportunity—a good place “to seek a new start.” While working as a domestic in Cleveland, Jennie meets Lester Kane, a member of a wealthy and influential Cincinnati family.
*Chicago. Illinois city to which Lester takes Jennie as his mistress. They initially live in a North Side apartment near Lake Michigan; later they live in an old eleven-room house in South Hyde Park. Lester oversees the Chicago portion of his family’s growing carriage empire. During the years they spend together in Chicago, Jennie grows more comfortable with wealth, and her relationship with Lester deepens. At the same time, the fact that they remain unmarried becomes a scandal in their Chicago social circle and causes a conflict within the Kane family. After Lester leaves Jennie to marry a wealthy widow, Jennie lives in “a simple cottage in...
(The entire section is 528 words.)