It’s 1849, and twelve-year-old Addie lives in the shipbuilding town of Essex, Massachusetts. Her father has left the family to seek gold on the West Coast, and tragically the flux has ended the lives of her mother and baby brother, leaving Addie all alone. Fearful of being taken in as a servant, Addie flees from her house into the snowy woods, where she endures hunger and bitter cold until Nokummus, an elderly Wampanoag woman, coaxes Addie to her dwelling.
Now living under the care of the mercurial old woman, Addie slowly recognizes the truth of her past. Through an intense ancient ceremony and by force of her own wits and will, Addie must come to grips with the facts of her newfound identity—and find the courage to build a future unlike any she could ever have imagined.