For the McWilliams children, life is forever altered the day a terrorist bomb blast rips through the train carrying them across Italy, instantly killing their parents. Dazed and frightened, Charlotte, Oliver, and baby Julia cling to oldest brother Sam, who - only seven at the time - is haunted by every detail.
A dramatic chapter of American history comes vividly to life in this evocative tale of a mother and daughter navigating the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On a beautiful December day, young Marty Langsmith’s life explodes into flames. Evacuated with her mother, April, to the mainland, Marty’s new world is haunted by nightmares of the lion in the lei shop, a creature fabricated by a neighbor that’s said to devour happy children. Meanwhile April, powerless to shield her daughter from the devastation of the Japanese attack and the uncertainty of life without her deployed army father, is caught between her longing for the past and her hope for the future.
Brother and sister Jerry and Daisy Lou Malone leave behind their provincial Midwestern upbringing to test their mettle in the big, beckoning world of 1920s America. For Jerry, the future lies west, with like-minded pioneer souls keen to play the “land game” as homesteaders on the Great Plains. Daisy, in turn, heads for the lights and luxe life of New York City, hoping to sing her way to stardom.