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Visions of a Southern mansion and Southern gentility lure Kathleen McCreadie across the Atlantic from her home in England. Three months earlier she had married Bob Conroy, a handsome GI and is happy to follow him to fulfill her dreams.
This is the early fifties and before she is even allowed the leave the ship, the fun-loving and unworldly Kathleen is suddenly made aware of the better-dead-than-red paranoia sweeping the United States. A second shock awaits her upon arrival in Edisville, her husband's home town. Instead of the stately home with the wrap-around porch she'd imagined, she finds herself in a dilapidated house with strange intolerant in-laws. The zealous Otis, her father-in-law wastes no time in letting her know that Catholics such as herself are not Christians.
When Bob is fired after only a few days on his first job, Kathleen discovers to her astonishment that he is illiterate. He angrily re-enlists in the army and is sent to Korea. Because Kathleen feels she shamed him into going back into the service, she knows she must wait for him to return.
She stows away her dreams and draws on a strength and courage she didn't know she had, attributes she desperately needs when she uncovers a terrible family secret that makes her fear for her life.
At this critical time, her first love mysteriously appears on the scene.