The year is 1916. World War I has been consuming Europe for two years but the United States thus far has managed to stay on the sidelines. As the U.S. balances on the razor's edge of full scale involvement in the conflagration, 20-year-old Martha Pendleton teeters on the brink of an intensely personal conflict. As Europe descends further into the miasma of the world's first "modern war," Martha engages in an internal battle on numerous fronts - with a father who adamantly contends that a woman's place is in the home, with an unexpected job opportunity that puts her at odds with what many define as "ladylike," with conflicting emotions over two very different men, and - perhaps most contentious of all - with herself as she begins to challenge cultural norms that limit opportunities for an entire gender and questions the logic of a society that so narrowly defines "propriety." As the "splendid isolation" of the U.S. is broken and it takes its place on the world stage, Martha also finds her voice, her strength, and her destiny.