When Judith Caldwell leaves urban Washington, DC to accept a teaching position in Michigan's remote Upper Peninsula, is she hoping to recapture an idealized memory of summer vacations spent in that beautiful wilderness, or is she defying her fiancé, Kent, who has put their wedding on hold?
The moment Judith sets foot in Michigan, a hotel fire destroys her possessions. Instead of teaching high school, she is assigned to an elementary school where she must learn to relate to young children. The Andersons, with whom she will be living, are no longer the happy family she remembers, and most disturbing of all—her old playmate Paul has matured into a ruggedly handsome and strangely secretive ladies’ man who seems determined to upset Judith's equilibrium.
The attraction between Judith and Paul is immediate and powerful, but each comes to the relationship with hidden scars and insecurities. Both have lost fathers, and Paul's hero, his older brother, has died in a freak mine accident. Commitment seems impossible because Judith is engaged to another, while Paul is hiding an indiscretion from his past so dark that no one speaks of it.
As the year unfolds, the couple confronts many challenges, including a near brush with death as history tries to repeat itself. In spite of the obstacles, Judith and Paul's forbidden passion heats up the northern nights and leads to a surprising conclusion.