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In 1913 Oregon, Norwegian immigrant Hans Friesen is a capable, intelligent man who can do anything he puts his mind to—except master spoken English. Widowed upon arriving in America, Hans gets by, delivering freight to patrons along the banks of the Umpqua River. Hans dreams of turning his business into a fleet of freight barges one day, if he can rise above the discrimination of those who see his limited English as a barrier.
He also dreams about the lovely widow, Lily Sanders, whose healing remedies he helps to distribute. Because she has a special, God-given gift, Hans aims to help Mrs. Sanders succeed. He tells himself that helping this woman of steadfast faith is the most he can hope for, even though his heart hopes for far more.
If only Hans could make something of himself before Lily marries the wealthy landowner's son who showers her with expensive gifts. If only he had more time to improve his English and his station in life. If only her beauty, kindness, and healing touch were not so consuming.
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