Nola leaves her abusive stepfather and blows as fast as a tornado, out of Kansas, for New York City to follow the faint trail of her biological dad, whom she's never known. With nothing more to go on than a nickname, Nola has readied herself for the impossible search, with the dream of also making it as a singer/songwriter. After a cold night spent in Central Park, Nola lands a job at an East Village diner owned by an eccentric and mysterious woman named Margaret, who runs an escort service. Margaret recognizes in Nola a fellow outsider. She soon offers Nola a place in her extended family that includes: Ben, the diner's cook and part-time law student; tabloid columnist Leo; and a transvestite named Wendy, who is one of Margaret's "girls." Nola comes to see that, while the City may be daunting in many respects, it is also--quickly--disarmingly welcoming, and takes her up as one of its own.