In the summer of 1905, Katherine Arthur's mother arrives on her doorstep, dying, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie's husband, Frank, it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank.
In the mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania, site of the infamous 1948 "killing smog", headstrong nurse Rose Pavlesic tends to her family and neighbors. Controlling and demanding, she's created a life that reflects everything she missed growing up as an orphan. She's even managed to keep her painful secrets hidden from her loving husband, dutiful children, and large extended family.
Set on the shores of the Albemarle Sound, April Harrington has fond memories of summers at her family home, Bliss. After her fairytale wedding disintegrates, it becomes her refuge - the one place where she can attempt to pull the unraveling threads of her life back together. Unbeknownst to April, the stately house has been neglected in recent years. The once-sturdy roof is leaking in a few dozen places, and the wharf is rotting. Nothing is the same as she remembers.
Sweet Romance - Fresh off their whirlwind nuptials and unexpected, but joyous pregnancy, April and Hale Abercrombie are gleeful about their life together. But, while Hale is serving his country in Vietnam, he receives news of the loss of their newborn daughter. Back home on leave, Hale can barely wait to hold his wife. Their reunion is passionate and their physical connection, strong and soothing. His embrace, his touch, and his love are just as perfect as April remembered.