After Nola Bianca and Luca DAndrea fall in love in an Italian mountain village, Nola abandons her plans to enter a convent and Luca works toward his dream of going to America. After they marry during Lucas furlough from his World War I army duties, Nola is determined to live a happy life with her new husband, despite her fathers belief that she should have married Guido, the man who has loved her for years. When the war ends, Luca heads to America, leaving Nola and their two sons behind and with his promise to return in short order unfulfilled. Nolas love does not waver as she lives for Lucas letters. As years pass, Guido continues to profess his undying love and Nola is harassed by the village constable. Nola is thrilled when, after six years, Luca comes home. After he is warned he will be arrested by Mussolinis henchmen the next day, he escapes during the night, leaving Nola pregnant and alone once again. It is not until years later when she and the three children finally arrive in America that Nola discovers everything is not how she imagined. She emerges triumphant in the decision she must make.