Switching between late eighteenth century and modern day Dartmoor, and London, the story mixes legend with reality, fact with fiction, and folklore.
Chessen Waterhouse is a dreamer. Brought up in the lonely wilds of Dartmoor, she is considered an outsider by her peers and the local community, so she takes refuge in books. But there is one person in the community who finds her intriguing. Sam White has watched Chessen from afar for as long as he can remember.
Violet lives in the Dartmoor of the late eighteenth century, when a very different set of pressures govern life. Despite the village fear of the local Wise Woman Gracie, Violet is fascinated by the work she does, and they develop a friendship, which leads to the discovery that she has an aptitude for herb lore. Her father, discovering the covert lessons, allows them to continue, promising that he will tell Violet's Mother when the time is right. But Joshua's sudden death leaves Violet with her secret untold.
Church law of old states that the dead must be buried in the parish church, but at this time, the church is situated across the other side of the moor. With no alternative, Violet's brother, must bury their father in a snowdrift until the weather clears and they can begin the journey.