When her father dies, college dropout Lillian Mullins steels herself for a future of nothing special in Pittsburgh. An invitation to Magnolian holds promise, but nightmares, ghosts, and murder threaten to derail her attempt to get a life.
Lillian heads to the South, leaving Donovan Ross, an angsty potential lover, behind. After she finds her mother's old journal at Magnolian and learns a shocking secret, Lillian resolves to find out what happened nearly forty years ago to her mother's African American lover, Samson Jones. Mysterious accidents and threats make her wonder whom she can trust: her enigmatic distant cousin Willoughby Tate, who is running his father's gubernatorial campaign, her Aunt Lorelei, who warns of a dire future, the ghost who beckons her in the night, or her father's voice in the recurring dream that will not let Lillian rest.