Tood, Weetsie, and Sybill are brides in rural Louisiana in 1943. Each married a Cliffert brother. The men are off to war, and a local news story about these young wives keeping the home fires burning intrigues Henry Luce. He decides that they belong on the cover of Life magazine and assigns Kate Miller to the story. She has been covering the war in Europe and, though she views doing a "women's piece" as a career setback, she accepts because it will be her first cover story. Kate spends a week with the Cliffert women, and her haughty urban attitude gives way to sympathy as she begins to understand them while coming face-to-face with her own powerlessness in a man's world. Filled with charm and fun, The Cover of Life is a deeply affecting story about the struggle for self-worth.