On the evening of May eighteenth, a young woman named Cass walks alone into the small village of Chimney Rock, North Carolina, intending to stay for exactly one year. She is in search of somewhere with peace, a place where she can safely picture herself and escape, shielding herself from recollections of the past.
Cass soon meets two precocious children, their mother, a caring and generous business owner, and the neighboring town’s chief of police. Family and loss make up many of their stories, and while these people and others attempt to get to know and help Cass, the history and troubled memories of what led her to this place begin to gradually unfold. As the date of her planned departure approaches, the potential for love and a path to healing become clearer. Cass and those around her must decide how forcefully they are willing to hold on: to the past, to the pain, and to the person.
This novel examines the true test of strength in the deepest depths of sorrow and reminds us of the overwhelming power of comforting influences in all of our lives, as our human souls struggle, against all odds, to survive.