Grace Kieler has taken on the identity of her brother Henry in order to survive the Civil War. In the Spring of 1863 after recovering from an injury Henry (Grace) dons the uniform of a confederate and joins the cavalry riding with Mosby’s rangers. During a skirmish at the crossroads near Bethesda Church at the battle of Cold Harbor, Henry is shot off his horse. His near death experience catalyzes his determination to live and to love fully promising to find Virginia Klaising the widow that saved his life during the battle of Antietam.
After losing 13,000 men during the massacre at Cold Harbor, Ulyssys S. Grant orders that any of Mosby’s men be hanged without trial. Grace is unknowingly rescued from the gallows as a prisoner of war by her fiancée, a Union officer, Lucius Walker. Avoiding marriage to a man she does not love Grace once again dons men’s clothes to escape house arrest and go in search of Virginia.
Life in the Shenandoah at the end of the war proves to be desperate. Lloyd Tull and his wife Jesse are expecting. Jesse’s sister is Virginia whose farm is not producing a sustainable crop due to lack of manpower. Lloyd is determined to marry Virginia off to an old man so that he can sell her farm. But Virginia is waiting for Henry to make good on his promise and call on her come the Spring. With the help of local Indians hiding up in the mountains Virginia is able to survive as she patiently waits for Henry’s return. She is also taught the meaning of certain symbols and designs that mimic the spirals naturally occurring in nature. Virginia sets about weaving spirals knots into twine and attaching them to her house as a means to call her soulmate to her. Meanwhile, Henry has become an outlaw and a manhunt is underway to capture one of Mosby’s rangers. Henry hides out with the Indians up in the mountains in order to evade capture by the Union forces. It is Virginia’s music that calls him to her. Virginia plays her piano in the evenings and the melodies drift up through the trees and into the mountains. The Indians tell Henry that the widow is destined to marry an old man she does not love.
When Virginia notices a scruffy looking boy making his way towards her she is elated to find that it is Henry (Grace). Henry proposes to her telling her that if she marries him no one else can claim her. It would be their secret. Eloping on horseback, the two are married by the local minister. The Indians and mountain people have a celebration up in the mountains for Henry and Virginia. The magic of their union echoed by the fireflies that dot the evenings at twilight. Their love deepens and grows. As they begin their life together the nightmares of battle plague Henry and sleep becomes elusive. Virginia becomes his touchstone.
When Jesse goes into labor at Virginia’s farm it is Henry who moves into action to tend to the birth. Complications arise and as Henry tries to disentangle the unborn child from its mother he relives a traumatic event on the battlefield. The blood of birth displaces the heavy blood of death and Henry (Grace) must face the reality of memory. Georgianna Walker, a childhood friend of Grace’s arrives in the confederate camp one night with her toddler son, Harrison. Disenfranchised with nowhere to go Georgianna becomes a fixture in the camp with Henry closely guarding his secret. When they are ambushed by Union skirmishers, Georgianna is mortally wounded and young Harrison disappears.
Henry relives the moment of mercy ending Georgianna’s life on that dusty road. Her last request is for Henry to find her son and raise him to be a good man. Haunted by the memories Henry must find Harrison in order to free himself. With a network of intelligence working on Henry’s behalf, the boy is located in NYC at the Children’s Orphans Asylum. Henry claims the boy and they make their way back home…to Virginia. Theirs is a story of strength, redemption, love and gratitude.