It is 1940 and Jack Cardinal, an award-winning writer, is killed in a car accident, leaving behind his precocious daughter, Lou Cardinal, her younger and very timid brother, Oz Cardinal, and an emotionally traumatized and catatonic mother, Amanda Cardinal. They move from New York City to a small farm in southwest Virginia to live with their great-grandmother Louisa Mae Cardinal, a strong and independent woman. Here Lou will realize her life-long ambition to become a writer like her father, but she will also come to learn about her roots and past tragedies that kept her father from ever returning to the place that provided the inspiration for his novels. Lou will come to learn of enormous sacrifice, the value of good friends, the battle between corporate interests and the sanctity of the land, and whether someone can truly wish another well. In essence, Lou will become who she is in a place she believed she could never truly belong.