Maria’s story unfolds in 1940’s Italy, where family ties and tradition are of utmost importance. When Maria is seduced by her cousin's fiancé, she becomes pregnant, and the scandal destroys her family. Whisked away from her poor rural village of Tronca to a severe Catholic convent several mountain towns away, she gives birth to a son. Maria is under tremendous pressure to give her baby up for adoption. Against the odds, she manages to keep her child and then must find a way to get him back to the home and family that is his birth right.
Years later, after being forced to marry and emigrate to America, Maria is at the end of her life. As she lies on her deathbed in a Pittsburgh hospital, Maria shares her story with her beloved granddaughter, Tatiana.
Awash in her own marital troubles, Tatiana agrees to Maria’s dying wish – to travel to Europe and retrieve a package from an aunt she’s never met. When Tate journeys to the land of her ancestors, she fully expects to meet her long lost family and to lay eyes on the places that cultivated a spirit like her Nana Maria’s. What she doesn’t anticipate is falling into a forbidden love affair with a sexy French man who happens to be her distant cousin by marriage. Throughout her journey, Tate not only discovers a shocking secret that Nana Maria waited a lifetime to disclose, but she also finds that the trick to life doesn’t lie in the best laid plans but in how you react to the things you never expected.