It is the story of a 23-year-old woman, Grace Holland, a mother of two small children, who loses her home and nearly her life that October. She has to find her inner strength after the fires.
The war has ended, and Grace is happy to have her husband home. Grace loves her two children and finds laughter with her best friend and next door neighbor, Rosie. She does not have an ideal marriage however and wishes that she and Gene could laugh more.
Eventually the weather changes, bringing a huge drought. Wildfires are everywhere. Gene joins a firefighting group of volunteers, leaving Grace and the two toddlers at home alone thinking the fires are far away.
But then the wind direction changes and the smoke and fire come racing toward them. Grace grabs her two children and runs two blocks to the beach, burying the three of them in wet sand along the shore as the fires sweep past.
Afterwards, homes up and down the whole coast of Maine are gone.
Gene cannot be found. Grace has nowhere to live, no income, and no job. She does not even know how to drive a car. But she knows she has to provide and care for her children.
Grace changes and grows as she discovers her own strengths. She begins to develop her own voice in a world where a woman did not disagree with a husband.
The tragedy becomes the catalyst and chance for her to remake her own life. Grace makes difficult life-changing decisions and evolves in to a woman of incredible strength.
The author develops the characters and relationships within an authentic historical period amid traumatic events.