Willis Pierce, hero of The War on Villa Street, returns to fall in love and fred the future for which he was grimly hanging on as that story closed. Now on his own, Willis lives a life of working as a laborer and running in his spare time, obsessively but never competitively, as he cannot overcome harsh memories of his only race. One day, he comes to the aid of Sophie Browne when she hurts her hand while closing her newsstand. Also on her own, having left the family farm when her brother's wife made it clear there was no room for her, she is an open, loving person who makes no secret of her attraction to Willis. Thanks to Sophie's dogged persistence, a relationship grows between them despite Willis' dreams of more attractive girls and his tightly controlled personality. A sharp quarrel is serious enough both to drive Sophie back to the farm and make Willis aware of how important she is to him, resulting in a new direction to his life and the tentative hope that he will share it with Sophie. Told alternately in the third person by Willis and Sophie, the overall resolution of the book is a bit too neat, but its central relationship is believably untidy. Sophie and Willis are clearly drawn characters about whom the reader cares deeply; they live not happily but hopefully ever after.