The African-born daughter of missionaries, nineteen-year-old Leonie Benedict arrives in New York in 1913.
She knows no one in the city, and she is newly pregnant as a result of her love affair with her cousin's husband, journalist Grayson Marlowe. Refusing to be afraid in this strange and challenging new world, and using her brief experience in a restaurant, she undertakes to open her own eating establishment.
Rose Manero, the first person she hires will, in time, become not only a friend for life but a partner in what evolves into a successful chain of restaurants.
Having given up hope of ever again seeing the father of her child, Leonie gets on with her life, and loses both a dear friend and a lover to the First World War and to the Spanish Influenza epidemic that follows. Yet she forges ahead.
Set in the period between the start of WWI and the end of WWI, we travel through the time with Leonie, her children, Grayson, and Rose; following the social and political events of the time. With a heart and a spirit that will not be broken, Leonie is a rare and remarkable woman.