The inhabitants of New Hope, Nebraska, have done their best to put the Civil War with all its turmoil and devastation behind them. By 1878, the town is prospering. Three daily railroad stops. Groceries, feed and grain, hardware, and leather goods readily available. Bank, doctor’s office, café, and barber shop. Its own church and school, preacher and teacher. A civilized community with all the marks of progress. That’s what the hard-working members of the Merchants’ Association believe until the day New Hope’s telegraph agent – young Eddie Barts – disappears, and suddenly life in New Hope changes.
Widow Ruth Churchill, barber and owner of the town’s finest boarding house, has lived and loved in New Hope for over a decade. She calls it home and its citizens friends. Five years after the death of her beloved husband, Ruth has managed to find peace and a kind of happiness. But with the disappearance of Eddie Barts, Ruth will find her world and her life turned upside down. Despite all the trappings of civilization, something – someone – evil is hiding in New Hope. For years, unknown to anyone but one relentless searcher, a wicked man of violence and deception has been living behind a mask of respectability.
Before his mask is ripped off, Ruth will experience suspicion, doubt, danger, and fear. Her own life will be at risk. Her own heart, too. Because along with terror and grief comes love. They live side-by-side. When it’s all over, New Hope, Nebraska, will never be the same. And neither will Ruth.