While searching the Montmartre Cemetery for his lost father’s grave, Henri Hoffman, a Parisian boy of eleven, meets an orphaned German teenager named Monika. Alone in occupied Paris, Henri allows the homeless girl to reside with him, and the two struggle together from 1942 through 1945. Eight years after liberation, the couple—along with their toddler, Jacqueline—joins Henri’s cousin, Manny Hoffman, an ex-GI, in New York City, where they’re welcomed in by his close-knit, gentle family: Manny’s wife, spinster sisters, and aspiring-actress niece. As the years wear on, the family fractures as familial relationships are sabotaged by the brutality of a haunted past—traumas that, by the 1960s, are feeding on the destruction of new generations.
Will the wounds of war continue to drive the Hoffman family into the darkness of repression, manipulation, and abuse—or will they wake from their post-war fugue and rise above their individual tragedies before more children die?