Great Lakes galley cook Sunny Colvin has her hands full feeding a freighter crew seven days a week, nine months a year. She also has a dream—to open a restaurant back home—but knows she’d never convince her husband, the steward, to leave the seafaring life he loves.
In Sunny’s Lake Huron hometown, her sister, Agnes Inby, mourns her husband, a US Life-Saving Serviceman who died in an accident she believes she could have prevented. Burdened with regret and longing for more than her job at the dry goods store, she looks for comfort in a secret infatuation.
Two hundred miles away in Cleveland, the youngest sister, Cordelia Blythe, has pinned her hopes for adventure on her marriage to a lake freighter captain. Finding herself alone and restless in her new town, she joins him on the season’s last trip up the lakes.
On November 8, 1913, a powerful storm descends on the Great Lakes, bringing hurricane-force winds, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous waves that last for days. Amidst the chaos, all three women are offered a glimpse of the clarity they seek, if only they dare to perceive it.