1898 – New York
When a feisty baseball fan meets her favorite baseball hero, romance is just around the base.
1913 – Georgia
Callie DeBoyer is unsettled as she arrives at Bridal Veil Island with the Bridgeport family. She’s just received a letter from her parents, missionaries in coastal Africa, stating they are in dire need of more personnel. Should Callie give up her governess job and join her parents in their important work? Is God calling her to the mission field, or does she just want to escape the emotional scars of being jilted by her former beau?
When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time at the golf course, Callie comes to care for Wesley–until she discovers hidden secrets about his past.
Then expensive jewels go missing from various homes on the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie’s direction. As the investigation continues, Callie wonders if she should escape it all by going to Africa. After the secrets he kept about his past, will Wesley ever be a man she can honor and trust for the rest of her life?
It’s the beginning of a new century at Lake Manawa resort in Iowa, but some things never change. When Emily Graham’s meddlesome aunts and grandmother take it upon themselves to find her a husband among the resort guests, the spunky suffragist is determined to politely decline each and every suitor. She has neither the time nor the need for a man in her busy life.
Carter Stockton, a recent college graduate and a pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team, intends to enjoy every minute of the summer before he is forced into the straitlaced business world of his father.
When their worlds collide, neither Emily nor Carter could have guessed what would come next. Will Carter strike out? Or will Emily cast her vote for a love that might cost her dreams?
1898 – Ohio
It Only Takes an Instant for Love to Strike
Tragedy hits the Allenhouse family on a hot summer night in Ohio when a mother of four vanished. Eight-year-old Vada virtually grew up overnight and raised her three younger sisters while her father lost himself in his medical practice in the basement of their home.
Now, Vada is a grown woman, still making her home with her father and sisters. Her days are spent serving as an errand girl for Cleveland’s fledgling amateur orchestra; her evenings with Garrison Walker, her devoted, if passionless, beau.
Dizzying change occurs the day the Brooklyn Bridegrooms come to town to play the Cleveland Spiders and a line drive wallops the head of a spectator. The fan is whisked to the Allenhouse parlor, and questions swirl about the anonymous, unconscious man.
Suddenly, the subdued house is filled with visitors, from a flirtatious, would-be sports writer to the Bridegrooms’ handsome star hitter to the guilt-ridden ballplayer who should have caught the stray shot. The medical case brings Dr. Allenhouse a frustration and helplessness he hasn’t felt since his wife’s disappearance. Vada’s sisters are giddy at the bevy of possible suitors. And Vada’s life is awakened amid the super-charged atmosphere of romantic opportunity.
1905 – Missouri
It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banking on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant. Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten thousand dollar contract: alcohol. When Duke is whisked away to the one-horse town of Picksville, Missouri, to sober up in anonymity, he bides his time flirting with Ellie Jane Voyant, who would rather hide herself in the railway station ticket both than face the echoes of childhood taunts.
Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, has secretly loved Ellie Jane since childhood, but he loves baseball and the Duke almost as much–until he notices Ellie Jane may be succumbing to the star’s charm.
Then there’s Morris, a twelve-year-old Negro boy, whose only dream is to break away from Picksville. When Duke discovers his innate talent for throwing a baseball, Morris might just have found his way out.
Four individuals, each living in haunted isolation, each harboring a secret passion. Providence brings them together. Tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Will love be enough to bring them home?
1953 – Small Southern Town
The spring of ’53 started out like any other for sports columnist Jack Hall, as he and the rest of his small southern town, Whitney, eagerly awaited the magical first pitch that would open the Bobcat’s season. But when ticket sales wane with the new distractions of air conditioning and I Love Lucy, the Bobcats face an early end not only to the season but to their careers as well. The team needs a white knight to save them and ironically, that white knight seems to be a 17 year old “colored kid”, Percy Jackson, who’s got a .364 batting average and has never seen a grounder he couldn’t chase down.
Not everyone—not even most people—though can wrap their heads around an integrated baseball field, even if they have seen them on TV. This is Whitney. Things don’t change and they don’t need to change. Do they?
Hearts, minds, faith and tradition will be tested as will friendships and marriages when this sleepy southern town comes to grips with itself amid the early years of the Civil Rights Movement.