Madeline Tyler and her two best friends, Ellie Jo Johnson and Olivia Chaplin, have just graduated from high school in Griffin, Georgia, in the spring of 1961. In search of a better life than rural Georgia offers, the girls set off in the pursuit of their dreams--but it isn't long before life steps in and derails their plans. Madeline's dreams of attending college are cut short by the deteriorating health of her father, and she finds herself returning home to help out with her family's needs. Ellie and Olivia both enroll in beauty school, making a start only to see tragedy strike, ending the dreams of one in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, Madeline meets Bart Richmond, a charismatic used-car dealer and wannabe NASCAR driver who likes fast women and faster cars--and he has his sights set on her. To complicate matters further, Nick Elliott, Bart's married friend and owner of Griffin's cotton mills, can't get Ellie out of his mind after watching her win the local Miss Iris contest. Only time will tell how the two men will impact the friends' lives. Set in the South in the 1960s, this saga tells stories of love lost and found for three young women whose lives are forever changed.