Even a quick summary will give away too much of the story, though it might not be obvious. Or maybe it would be.
Lots of characters (I love that) living in a Philadelphia post-Civil War African American neighborhood. But the story revolves around two white orphans, Linc and Bram, who are raised as brothers because they arrived at the orphanage as infants within days of each other. What are their back stories? Because they spend a lot of time with Meda, their wet nurse, and in the home of the Benins, her employers, they have more opportunities than many orphans--and the other kids know it. They also learn a lot about gambling and the African-American community from hanging out at Meda's brother Buddy's gambling hall.
As they grow up and run from the law, they end up in New York. Only Meda's death years later brings them back to Philly. And that is where the meat of the story begins—and the book is already half over.
After all the lead-up and several story lines that have nothing to do with the main story, there is a very abrupt ending. I want to know more! How does Buddy react? What happens with the quarantine? What happens with Bram? The doctor? Where does Linc go after the quarantine ends? What about Vergie? So. Many. Questions. So many loose ends.