In the spring of 2020, a very special class is graduating from high school. This class of students has just one thing in common. The class is comprised completely of 37 survivors – of children whose pregnant mothers were in and around the World Trade Center on 9/11, but whose mothers survived, and gave birth within the next few months. These 37 students are part of a longitudinal study known as “Operation Steel Survivors” and their very public commencement is now scheduled for Carnegie Hall in Manhattan.
Hope Campton is the Valedictorian and graduation speaker of Operation Steel Survivors Class of 2020, getting ready to deliver 5-7 minutes of inspiration to a class full of young adults who were born in the aftermath of the greatest tragedy of a generation. Press and public are awaiting the start of the ceremony, but it’s beginning to look like the only two people that Hope wants to see in the audience are not going to make it.
Meanwhile, Kate Monroe and Ian Campton are battling more than just New York City traffic to get to their destination. It seems a lifetime of choices are catching up with each of them, and the detours and traffic stops aren’t helping anything.
Enter Rory Garcia, a young and hungry journalist who gets detoured on her way to cover an immigration rights protest at City Hall. When her cab is involved in a collision outside Carnegie Hall, she decides instead to cover the commencement of Operation Steel Survivors, and the highly anticipated Valedictorian speech of the day.
Rory arrives at Carnegie Hall on the heels of a bitter argument with her Cuban-American husband. Frustrated and flustered, Rory unwittingly uncovers a story that threatens to dwarf Hope Campton’s graduation speech. While waiting for the commencement ceremony to start, a mysterious stranger tells Rory a time-bending story about epic love, loss, and sacrifice, and suddenly the story Rory thinks she is covering only as an outsider looking in - becomes so much more. It’s The Life of Pi meets Sliding Doors meets Sophie’s Choice. It’s neither a prequel, nor a sequel, but rather another chapter altogether of the award-winning novel, Lemongrass Hope.