Mike Graham surfs through life, never particularly caring about his heritage, until he meets Samuel Feldzmann.
After learning that Mike, a war baby, is adopted, Samuel shares a story that will alter both of their lives. As a teen, stepping into manhood, Samuel anticipates a peaceful life with a proper Jewish wife in the village of his ancestors until he is warned that a maniacal man, with an abdominal hatred for Jews, plans to invade Europe. His family thinks he should join his brother in New York. Samuel’s going away party is interrupted: his country is under siege.
Instead of reporting to the railroad station, he and his girlfriend, Hava, disappear. An amazing story of survival, endurance, fierce love, and bitter betrayal begins. After being captured by a lifetime friend, they escape and flee to Meara. Surrounded by a community of caring people, they become Joe and Virginia, living amid the Catholics, while helping other Jews survive, until an act of betrayal forces Samuel into exile. When he sees the hats of Jewish men floating down the river, he becomes a warrior.
In Meara, Hava dresses refugees, allowing them to blend in with their new surroundings, and she raises money for the cause. Letters from Virginia, the girl Hava pretends to be, offer her a brief reprieve from the war and a friend in America.
Time and absence intensifies the love between Samuel and Hava. When he returns, she proposes. Samuel rejects the idea: the war is bigger than their needs. However, after he finds a baby, he returns, feeling God is allowing him to be a family man. The stinging words of his prior speech haunt Hava, and even though her heart is breaking, she gives the baby away, freeing him leave again.
His life is filled with danger, adventure and victory, hers is calm and protected, until the ultimate betrayal shatters both her world and Samuel’s. A photojournalist from America comforts Hava, assisting her when she is most venerable. With the assistance of unsung heroes everywhere, their country is liberated, but will Hava and Samuel’s love simply become another casualty?