When Mattie is given the letters by a guest at the hotel in which she has a summer job she thinks that the giver is simply upset. But the next day when the woman is found drowned in Big Moose Lake Mattie has to decide if she will read the letters, or burn them as the woman requested. But Mattie has problems enough of her own as she is growing up and trying to decide on her future. Her desire to be a writer and her dreams of life outside the small rural community in which she has always lived are beginning to overwhelm her. Will Mattie make it away from home? Will she leave the family and boyfriend who both love and smother her? Will she be like her friend and settle to married life or like her other friend and mentor the poet Ms Wilcox. Slowly the two stories merge to one amazing conclusion as Mattie finds the courage to make very important decisions. Set in 1906 and built around the real life murder of a young woman in a popular holiday resort this novel is touching, surprising, moving and compelling.