Set in rural and backwoods Pennsylvania, Claire Raffienne’s daughter is inexplicably taken from her by a department of social services. To reunite with her daughter, she must confront child care bureaucracy, dysfunctional and debased foster parents, and ultimately her own demons. The path through these enmities leads to deeper friendships and her own redemption.
At 24, Annie flees California to return to the Allegheny Mountains and to Clare whose feral ways are as protective as they are provocative. She settles near her friend’s home---an ancient community untroubled by modern law---where she ventures into the horse business. In doing so she naively brings together an incendiary mix of race and values. Dangerously optimistic she refuses to listen to Jack, the boy who travels between the Holler and Annie’s farm when he warns her, “people don’t give up their hates easy.” She continues to hang onto hope while houses burn, horses run wild and the sun blasts the land, turning it to tinder. It is Clare who finally teaches her that people are who they are; that wanting doesn’t always make it so and in accepting this there is a freedom.