Furniture specialist Maggie Hammond inherits a house on a New England island and becomes involved in the community. The characters include a sheriff and his abused wife, a dog trainer, a promiscuous nurse and an ecologist to whom Maggie is attracted.
It's 1910 in Pownal, Vermont. At 12 Grace and her best friend Arthur must go to work in the mill, helping their mothers work the looms. Together Grace and Arthur write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage children working in the mill. A few weeks later, Lewis Hine, a famous reformer arrives undercover to gather evidence. Grace meets him and appears in some of his photographs, changing her life forever.
Twelve-year-old William uses the magic token to return, through the toy castle in his attic, to the medieval land of Sir Simon, which is now menaced by a skeleton ship bearing a plague of ravenous rats.