Set in the frontier of the Pacific Northwest , this long, richly written novel is more like an extended tone poem. William Talmadge lives alone following the death of his mother and the disappearance of his beloved sister. He raises apples and apricots on the land they homesteaded back in 1857 when he was nine. His closest confidantes and friends are an Indian horse trader (and sometimes thief), and a healer and midwife who also lives alone. Into his quiet world come two very young, very pregnant sisters, escaping the abuse of their father. The book follows the course of the rest of his life as it is impacted by the events that follow their arrival. A strangely moving book. 426 pp.