November 1944, Paris, France. GI John arrives in France as a mechanic in the Military Railway Service. He meets and falls in love with a young French woman, Odette, working in a corner cafe. He is posted to Germany and returns a year later when his proposal of marriage is accepted and they decide to return to his home in the US – much to her family’s chagrin. Odette is shipped to the Phillip Morris Camp in Le Havre for training in being ‘American’, before finally boarding the MS Vulcania. When we meet them at the beginning of the book, Odette’s great niece Maud and her husband Julien are preparing to embark on a trip from Paris to Michigan, where many a culture shock awaits.