Fleeing the end of an affair, and troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley comes home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident?
Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognise her father's slow failing and her mother's desperation, and she tentatively gets to know the new owner of the local newspaper, another house burns, and then another. These frightening events open the deep social fault lines in the town and raise questions about how and where one ought to live, and what it really means to lead a fulfilling life.