Returning home after seven years with the Union army, Southern born Dake Reed comes upon an overturned wagon and a dying woman who has just given birth to a baby boy. Desperate to find care for the child, Dake enlists the aid of the first woman he comes across - Cara James. Cara is hard-pressed to deny him; she wants to start a doll-making business in California and the money Dake offers her to care for the child as he searches for its relatives will help Cara achieve her dream. The pair are an unlikely match - Dake's surroundings are neat and orderly while Cara's room "looked as if she'd stirred it with a stick," but their love for the baby Clay transcends all else. After arriving at Riverglen, his war-torn Southern plantation, Dake is branded a "turn-coat" and blamed for the murder of his crippled brother. Minna, his brother's fiance, provides an alibi, but readers soon learn that Minna has all the qualities of razor blades hidden in a cream puff. When a dark secret concerning little Clay's heritage is revealed, the baby's safety becomes a fearful concern. In her latest, Landis ("Past Promises") does what she does best by creating characters of great dimension, compassion, and strength.