What was it Donald used to say? When it comes to children, you pay now or pay later. You never don't pay. Middle-aged Verna Macoun Woodcock returns to the family cottage for the first time in 38 years to scatter the ashes of her husband, father, and twin sister. At first she is alone except for her dad's dog, the lake, bitter memories, and a barely hidden drinking problem. But soon Verna is forced to open up her tightly shut world to others: strong-willed handywoman Winonah; the neglected children of her sister, each lost and broken in their own way; even the ghost of Winonah's dead brother, Lionel, who can't seem to make it to the Sky World. Just as Verna is starting to accept this newfound family, she discovers a menacing prospector who posts a notice on the cottage door, stating his intention to dig for ore. As it turns out, the Macouns hold the surface rights for the land, but not the mineral rights. For the first time in her life, Verna has something to fight for and family at stake.