After surviving the loss of both her parents, one to illness and the other to abandonment, Bernice Rosin finds herself at a South Dakota orphanage that will never feel like home. Longing for a life free of poverty and misfortune, she takes matters into her own hands, determined to secure her own happily-ever-after no matter the cost.
In 1948, a relocation West promises a life rich with upper-class pleasantries until a naive mistake shatters both Bernice’s pride and her heart. Convinced she can still rise above her allotted station, she returns to South Dakota to calculate her options.
Desperate for a hero all her own, she singles out John Smith, a simple man with a kind heart and a gentle smile. John appears to be the perfect escape from a life fraught with disappointment. The fact that he comes with the baggage of two children and a past he seldom speaks of has little bearing on her new obsession. Caught unprepared for such cleverness and deception, John falls right into the path of Bernice’s affection as she has set her sights on changing her last name to Smith, even if she has to steal it.