Like the small towns J. California Cooper has so deftly portrayed in her previous novels and story collections, Wideland, Oklahoma, is home to ordinary Americans struggling to raise families, eke out a living, and fulfill their dreams. In the early twentieth century, Irene and Val fall in love in Wideland. While carving out a home for themselves, they also allow neighbors Bertha and Joseph to build a house and live on their land. The next generation brings two girls for Irene and Val, and a daughter for Bertha and Joseph. As the families cope with changing times and fortunes, and people are born and pass away, the characters learn the importance of living one's life boldly and squeezing out every possible moment of joy, while being held up by a strong foundation of love and the ultimate realization that whoever you are, and whatever you do, life is short, but it is also wide.