World War II is over. Now that Burke Delgard has returned home safe and whole, Tulla Johanson hopes she can finally quit her job at the tractor factory and become his wife. Together they can revive her family’s farm, while she cares for aging parents. But seven years of dreams crumble on their wedding day when Burke changes his mind to chase a baseball career instead. He walks out of the church and over her heart, while Tulla hides her humiliation in the back seat of a Hudson.
Home isn’t the same for Steven “Van” Vandreel since he returned from overseas. While Van hunkered in a trench in France, his dad passed away, and his mom moved away to live with her sister leaving Van without a real home to return to. When war buddy Burke asked him to come to La Crosse and act as his best man, it had seemed like a good idea. He never imagined he’d find Burke’s jilted bride crying in the back seat of his car, and he surely never planned to get between the bride and groom by beginning an awkward friendship with her. Yet Tulla seems both vulnerable and sweet, and Van can hardly help himself.
Still, he’s carried his own secrets home from the war, and he’s determined to keep them barred inside. Tulla, a girl with her own brand of strength and determination, might hold the key to unlocking them, but Burke clearly wants to win her back, and even her old pal Walter is getting in the way. If Van is forced to face his own feelings and fears, can he commit to her any better than Burke did, or will war’s deep scars prove him to be just another love coward?Naomi Musch