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It's 1942, just a month after the United States entered World War II. Lark, her mother Arlene, and Aunt Betty are in a station changing trains, leaving their lives in Harvester, Minnesota behind, and waiting for the train going to Los Angeles. Young men -- soldiers -- swarm the platform, heading off to war. Against this dramatic backdrop, Gardenias revisits Faith Sullivan's most beloved characters from The Cape Ann, taking them from their hometown to new lives, new dreams, and new risks. Arlene has left her husband behind after he gambled away the money she'd saved to finally build the Cape Ann house of her and Lark's Depression-era dreams. As a new life takes shape in San Diego in a wartime housing project full of neighbors they know little about, Lark wonders, as does the reader, if a dream means losing everything of value or finally finding it.