Nestled high in the Italian Alps lies Vilminore, home to Ciro, a strapping mountain boy. Close by lives Enza, a practical girl who longs only for a happy life for her family. When the two meet as teenagers, it seems it could be the start of a life together. Then Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal and is sent to America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy, leaving behind a bereft Enza. Her family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to flee to America with her father to secure their future. Unbeknownst to one another, Ciro and Enza build fledgling lives in New York. Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job, until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza must learn to forge a life without him. From the stately mansions of New York's Upper East Side to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.