For all of her nine years, fragile Elizabeth Ann has heard her Aunt Frances refer in whispers to "those horrible Putney cousins." But when her aunt can no longer care for her, Elizabeth Ann is forced to leave her sheltered life in town, to live in the wilds of Vermont with distant relatives.
Who would leave a world-famous pie recipe to a cat?
When Alice's Aunt Polly, The Pie Queen of Ipswitch, passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous piecrust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily fat, remarkably disagreeable cat, Lardo...and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.
"Ida B," Mama said to me on one of those days that start right and just keep heading toward perfect until you go to sleep," when you're done with the dishes, you can go play. Daddy and I are going to be working until dinner."
Abilene Tucker arrives in Manifest, Kansas in 1936 at the height of The Great Depression. Her mother has died, and her father, Gideon Tucker, grew up in Manifest. When he gets a job in another part of the country, he sends Abilene to Manifest to stay with his old friend, Shady Howard.