Born into a family with artistry in their fingers and eccentricity in their history, Lyza laments that her only talent is carving letters into wood. That is, until her life is turned upside down when her mother succumbs to influenza during the pandemic of 1918, which is devastating their small coastal town in Maine. With her mother gone, it falls to Lyza to protect her unconventional father who runs the risk of being committed after he claims he's waiting for the return of his dead wife. Lyza must rely on her courage, and an undiscovered talent, to save her father and find her own path.
As a child who waded in the head-high grass of our cliffside home, I'd harbored a peculiar fondness for funeral marches—the sight of all those people in one long line, each face holding a memory. Had the tall woman with a book clutched to her chest sat next to the departed on a cracked bench in a one-room schoolhouse? Or had they met in a crowded market when they both reached for the same sun-ripened orange?
Those lives I could only touch with my eyes—their bodies show and lean with grief—slipped into the trees that reached over the road that stretched north to Hemmings Field. A bitter name when nothing grew there but stones carved with the names of the dead.
Such were the wonders of my early childhood.