Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin, where he endures life in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history unfold.
In 2007, Manhattan-based Cameroonian immigrant Jende Jonga gets a job chauffeuring for Lehman Brothers executive Clark Edwards, easing the financial strain on his family. At first, all goes ell, but problems in the Edwards' marriage lead to problems for the Jongas, and when Lehman falls, both families are caught up in the terrible aftermath.
Office worker Eleanor adheres to a strict routine that has insulated her from the memories of her traumatic childhood but has not shielded her from loneliness. But after she meets Raymond, she attempts to rediscover her memories and in the process learns how relationships operate and that other people can be a source of joy rather than destruction.
Mia Warren arrives with her teenaged daughter, Pearl and rents a house from the Richardson’s. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. When old family friends of the Richardson’s attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Hesitating to treat the newborn of a white supremacist couple who has demanded that a white nurse assist them, a black nurse is placed on trial in the tragic aftermath and is aided by a white public defender with whom she begins questioning their beliefs as the case becomes more racially charged.
The lives of three women converge at the Ravensbrück concentration camp as one resolves to help from her post at the French consulate, one becomes a courier in the Polish resistance, and one takes a German government medical position.
Li-Yan and her family, devote their lives to farming tea. Like her mother, Li-Yan is being groomed to become a midwife in her Chinese village. She yearns for more and is allowed to pursue her schooling. The arrival of outsiders seeking the Pu’er tea of Yunnan brings the modern world into this isolated village. When Li-Yan finds herself alone and pregnant, she leaves her child, wrapped with a tea cake, at an orphanage. Her daughter is adopted by a couple from California, but she is drawn to the study of tea.
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge, until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents but they quickly realize the dark truth.