An acclaimed, sweeping historical novel set during the Civil War, with one steadfast couple at its core. It is 1859, and Hugh and Serena Hallam have left Charleston society behind to build a new life for themselves and their three children in the near-wilderness of West Tennessee. War may loom on the horizon, but life at their farm, Palmyra, is good, both for their family and-so they convince themselves- their slaves. Young and idealistic, torn between their ambivalence toward slavery and their love of the land, they keep hope that goodwill might yet prevail against the growing hostility dividing the two Americas. But soon, events will move the Hallams' entire world toward destruction, sweeping Hugh into battle while stranding Serena at a besieged Palmyra. Their values will be tested on the battlefield and at home and in the end only their passionate and enduring love for one another will sustain them as they face the war that transforms a nation.