In 1918, Maureen Ross struggles to deal with a difficult pregnancy and her emotionally abusive husband Troop, until the arrival of Troop's niece, Mary Oliver, the child of a wealthy, freethinking family who sets out to protect her aunt.
A powerful new novel from the bestselling author of Ellen Foster Autumn, 1918: Rumors of peace are spreading across America, but spreading even faster are the first cases of Spanish influenza, whispering of the epidemic to come. Maureen Ross, well past a safe childbearing age, is experiencing a difficult pregnancy. Her husband, Troop -- cold and careless of her condition -- is an emotional cripple who has battered her spirit throughout their marriage. As Maureen's time grows near, she becomes convinced she will die in childbirth. Into this loveless ménage comes Mary Oliver, Troop's niece. The sheltered child of a well-to-do freethinking Washington family, Mary arrives to help Maureen in the last weeks of her confinement. Horrified by Troop's bullying, she soon discovers that her true duty is to protect her aunt. As influenza spreads and the death toll grows, Troop's spiteful behaviors worsen. Tormenting his wife, taunting her for her "low birth," Troop terrorizes the household. When Mary fights back, he goes over the edge. Maureen rallies with a stunning confrontation and, ultimately, finds spiritual renewal.