Ethie Coulter was born after her father Howard returned from the war in 1945. When his wife dies in bizarre circumstances, Howard must take on the burden of looking after 11-year-old Ethie and her two older brothers.
Natalie began to question her family's idyllic existence the summer she turned 15. The arrival of a soft-spoken stranger, an American draft-dodger called River, would test the morals and beliefs of the family and the community to the breaking point. The series of events following that summer day would leave relationships shattered and the Ward family changed forever.