Two little girls - one white, one colored; one free, one a slave; one never afraid, the other ever looking over her shoulder - become unlikely friends in 1852, Bedford County, Virginia. Instinctively, they know they must keep their friendship a secret. Willa and Surry are both from loving families, but Surry's parents are slaves and can't protect their daughter from the plantation overseer's cruel hand. Overhearing her parents argue about "bein' free", Surry asks Willa to find out what bein' free means. The answer brings heartache to both girls, their childhood innocence lost in the wake of the coming War Between the States.
Afraid of men, afraid for her sins, afraid for her sanity, and right now afraid for her life, Meggie McMurphy flees Boston once the fiendish terror - so long stalking in her nightmares - surfaces in the light of day. She escapes west to Denver in the wild Colorado Territory, hoping to lose herself among the multitude of townsfolk. The year is 1874. Twenty-five years old, alone, and near penniless, Meggie struggles to find honest work and to keep the dark secrets of her past just that: a secret. Not so easily done....
Levi's gut wrenches at what he'd just gone and done - taken Comfort for his wife and not Willa. Willa Mae Tyler was out there somewhere now, masquerading as a Confederate soldier, fighting, facing death every day. That he couldn't stop her from going is eating him up inside. Desperate for her secret and best friend Surry's counsel, Willa prays for the safety of her unborn child, Levi Clement's child. She prays she's doing the right thing by exacting revenge on the Yankees for killing her brothers.
Deafened at a young age, her natural-born means of expression taken from her, Amelia Anne Polley must learn to communicate all over again. In 1874, left to grow up in frontier territory, Amelia is determined to live the life she'd dreamed for herself before becoming deaf. One thing she won't be is a mail-order bride to the handsome rancher Aaron Zachary. But true love is hard to deny if they can find their way out of their troubled pasts, overcoming hardship and heartache.