In a coma, Sandy meets people who are oddly dressed and who speak English, but not the English she speaks. Eventually, she comes out of the coma, but continues to see and talk with these people - doctors, nurses, soldiers - on their way to a great battle at Shiloh.
As fascinating as these occurrences are, they are associated with Sandy's refusal to accept Penny's death. Only by witnessing the deaths of her Civil War friends is Sandy able to come to terms with the death of her sister and recover her own life.
This fine novel offers a compassionate, even hopeful look at death, loss, and grief.