Iron Triangles shows how three lives unexpectedly intertwine one summer, forever changing each of them.
The story opens with Eden Thatcher, a tall, spunky, blond college senior who travels to Madagascar to stay with family friends serving as missionaries there. She intends on living there a month before moving on to France to also see missionaries her church supports there. If her travel plans work out, she should collect enough personal observations to add to her research to finish writing her senior thesis on a comparison of the two cultures. Eden hopes the experience will boost her job options and confirm her aspiration to work in the realm of international relations.
Her host family in Madagascar includes 17 year-old high school senior, Naomi Rocheau. Petite, introspective, and of French-Canadian heritage, Naomi is the moon to Eden's sun. Having spent most of her life between Kenya and Madagascar under a controlling father's thumb, Naomi is awed by the all-American girl-next-door persona of Eden. Naomi envies Eden's independence, and longs to go to America--a place she's rarely visited. But it isn't until a dark event shadows Naomi's life that Eden provides her with a way of escape and she accompanies Eden back to America via France.
In France, the two girls are both charmed by Luke Shepherd, a dynamic, idealistic missionary intern who is immediately enamored with Eden. Like Naomi, Luke is drawn to Eden's passion for life. Luke has only recently finished Bible school and has spent the last year living with a tent-making missionary family in France--the same family Eden's church supports. He feels he is ready to start his life as a pastor or missionary, and now that he's met Eden, he's convinced she is the perfect soulmate for him.....if only he can convince her that overseas mission work, not politics, is God's call on her life.
And then there's Naomi. Luke can't quite figure her out, but there's something about her that disturbs, attracts and repels him at the same time. In an effort to appease Eden whose expressed concern for Naomi's well being, Luke tries counseling the missionary kid only to find out he has far more to learn from her than he does to teach.
Their trip in France is cut short when Eden discovers she contracted Malaria while in Africa. The girls return to Eden's home in Michigan--Eden, hopeful for quick recovery so she can move on with her thesis (and figure out what to do with Luke), and Naomi, excited to forget her past in Africa and experience the American Dream. When tragedy strikes, Eden, Naomi, and Luke together learn that life isn't about their plans, but the way God strengthens them to overcome the circumstances that demolish the carefully crafted lives.