"The Good Soldier" is the story of two couples. The first couple is English, Edward Ashburnham, the good soldier referenced in the title, and his wife Leonora. The second couple is American, John and Florence Dowell, who have been living abroad for quite some time. In a German spa prior to World War I the two couples meet and subsequently Edward and Florence become engaged in an affair. "The Good Soldier" is a tragic tale of passion. As John Dowell laments at the beginning of the book, it is "the saddest story I have ever heard."