1943: When seventeen-year-old Juliet Dufresne receives a cryptic letter from her enlisted older brother pleading for help, and then finds out he's been reported missing overseas, she lies about her age and volunteers as an army nurse to find him. Juliet is thrust into the bloody chaos of a field hospital, where she is increasingly consumed by the plight of her patients.
On Thanksgiving Day 2007, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, Ginny, an unmarried academic in her 30s, a newly adopted Indian daughter, and about their son, Douglas, who has recently been caught in the imploding real-estate bubble. But Ginny and Douglas, determined to have a perfect holiday, keep their troubles secret, a skill they have learned from their parents.