Beginning in rural Missouri in 1911 and ending in San Francisco during the final days of World War II, this is the story of the four Alexander sisters, all with very different lives.
They are the granddaughters of first settlers of the Missouri wilderness and daughters of an iron-willed woman who buried four of her five children before the sisters were born. The eldest sister is a practical and outgoing business woman. Second is the beautiful, selfish and self-righteous farm wife. Third is the main character, and the fourth is the youngest sister, red-haired and impetuous, with the courage to leave an unsatisfactory husband after only a few months of marriage to follow a dream that will take her west and eventually to the booming 1920s cities of Singapore and Shanghai.
The four sisters experience the effects of global events of their day from the sinking of the Titanic, World War I and the devastating Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918, on through the social upheaval of the Roaring Twenties, the Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, the migration west to California, terror on the west coast following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and ultimately World War II San Francisco.