It is the summer of 1972, and writer Rianne Tavener returns to the seaside village of Port Carlyle, Nova Scotia, her childhood home. Owen Sweeney, an eccentric museum curator and guardian of the local burying ground, hires Rianne to oversee projects for the village's upcoming bicentennial celebrations. He shows her the damaged Victorian-era journal of the young woman who is buried beneath the graveyard's most distinctive headstone. Alyda Teasdale was seventeen and unmarried in 1897, the year she and her newborn baby died under mystifying circumstances. Intrigued by the journal, Rianne carefully reconstructs its entries. She traces Alyda's history as the young woman grieves the loss of her sea captain father, struggles against the dictates of her authoritarian stepfather, and experiences the euphoria of forbidden love. Owen Sweeney, citing a secret source, provides important details that are missing in the journal, but insists on controlling the project. Rianne turns to Ben Allenby, a childhood friend, for further help in piecing together Alyda's tragic tale. He complicates Rianne's task, however, by awakening feelings in her that have long been buried. Overwhelmed, Rianne begins seeing visions of a young Victorian-era woman. Has Alyda returned to help her in her quest, she wonders, or are the images creations of her own imagination? In this compelling mystery tale, as Rianne uncovers the fate of a nineteenth-century woman and her baby, she discovers that even in heartbreak, life offers two constants: love and hope.