"Do you ever wonder what a soul is made of?" Katie D'Amore does. She has lost her mother and she and her painting-restorer father have settled into a comfortable routine. Katie has taken a summer job working as a gardener on the mysterious Miss Martine's estate. Old Olson and a crew of her high school acquaintances are excavating for a second gazebo. As is her custom, she visits the library to seek the stylish Ms. McDermott's advice. "Bringing Ms. McDermott a challenge is like doing public service." A woman, Ms. Martine Everlast, has gone missing for fifty-three years. Is the reclusive Ms. Martine actually in her lovely home with its single light burning? What happened in 1954? Katie thinks that maybe if she knew where Ms. Martine is, "maybe it will be easier to find [her] mother, or some way of living, or moving forward, though she's gone."
"Books don't make a bit of difference. Somebody reads them searching for something."
"Being responsible has its own rewards."
"History is never absolute truth. It isn't just the thing that was. It's the thing that could have been."
"History is never absolute truth. It's parcels and strings, and suppositions. It's what you make of it."
"Everybody's story is a lesson."