Like Allen's previous three novels, this one is set in small-town North Carolina and features strong-willed women puzzling over family secrets. If this novel could be summed up in one word, it would be sisterhood. The bonds of friendship between the women in this book serve as the catalyst for the entire plot, and the follow the characters from generation to generation.
Willa Jackson is tethered to her home town by an impossible sense of duty. Her family was once the "royalty" of the small logging village but that ended when Willa's grandmother was a teenager. Miserable in the shadow of her family's failure but unable to leave her aging grandmother, Willa stays incognito on the "tourist" side of town, where locals rarely go.
Paxton Osgood is the girl everyone loves to hate. Beautiful, rich, successful. But behind the veneer, she is trapped: living in her parents' home, living her parents' life, in love with a man whom she suspects can never truly love her back.
Willa and Paxton's grandmothers were best friends, but Willa and Paxton are virtual strangers. This all changes the night Paxton's thin facade crumbles, and Willa finds herself rescuing Paxton from a dangerous situation. As the women start to trust one another more, they uncover long buried secrets, secrets that tie them together and that their grandmothers had hoped would stay buried.
This book has a great and engaging story, with that trademark Allen hint of mysticism. Although I thought that it started out a little more slow than her other books (usually they hook me from the first page), I still enjoyed it immensely and it became much more of a page-turner as the plot line unfolded. Highly recommended, and I am already anticipating her next great story!