From a house on the edge of her family's dusty farmland airstrip near Chicago, the child Cassie O'Malley would sneak into the night to look at the planes sitting shimmering in the moonlight. Her World War I veteran father, Pat, wanted his son to be a pilot, not his reckless, red-haired daughter. But it was Cassie who had the gift. Ever since she could remember, Cassie felt the pull of getting in a cockpit and taking to the skies. Observing all the while was her father's junior partner, Nick "Stick" Galvin, a fellow war ace and airborne daredevil. Nick would become her confidant and best friend, willing to break all the rules to teach her to fly, knowing that the greatest gift he could give her was the freedom of flying.