Heiress Helena van den Berg is bitter, depressed and she’s on the run from a marriage to a man she doesn’t love. She’s running from a betrayal by her father. And she’s trying to outrun the grief of a lost love.
In 1940 she meets Stan Adams in a chance encounter in France. He’s an American pilot fighting for the English. She’ll never see him again—or so she thinks. She returns to New York City to work for her father, and becomes vital in building the family business.
When Stan unexpectedly shows up in New York, Helena is surprised and delighted. They become lovers. They spend six glorious days together and promise to wait for one another.
Weeks later she receives a letter from his commanding officer: Stan has been shot down over Holland.
Now Helena’s father pressures her to marry Robert Goulding. Enfolded in grief for Stan and bullied by her father, she reluctantly and tearfully relents. Within days of her marriage her father announces that Robert will take over Helena’s part of the business so she can be a “housewife.” Emerging from her grief and shock, Helena is outraged. She feels betrayed by her father and feels foolish for being bullied into marrying Robert. She has come to hate the conventions of the day: stay-at-home wife, cocktails and boredom, inane conversation from her punster husband. After a few months of marriage her mental state has slid like ice off a pitched roof.
One day she impulsively boards a train headed west, leaving her former life behind. The train stops in Salt Lake City and she likes the embracing mountains that surround her. She assumes a new identity and reinvents herself as Leni Burke. In her new persona Leni finds freedom and excitement as she talks her way into a job as a newspaper woman where she meets a host of memorable characters and learns the trade. Her editor, Denis Cannon, lashes out at her mistakes—until he falls for her.
The war is ending. Suddenly she has tough choices to make as her past catches up with her.