Aubrey Wallace is the kind of man no one ever notices. Dotty Johnson is the kind of teenage girl no one can ever ignore. One hot summer afternoon, they both disappear from the small Vermont town where they live. The next day, two hundred miles away, a toddler is snatched from her playpen in the home of her well-to-do family, the Birds. There are no clues, nothing at all. The kidnapping is random, unplanned, without motive or reason, utterly senseless, which becomes the pattern of Dotty and Aubrey’s lives together.
For the next five years, Aubrey, Dotty, and the kidnapped child—bound together by strange love and desperate need—are trapped in a nomadic existence governed by their constant fear of discovery. Canny, the little girl, becomes the reason for Aubrey’s entire existence. But volatile Dotty wants out. She is tired of being saddled with this illiterate and fearful little man and tired of being burdened by the needs of a precocious child. Everywhere they go questions are being asked. Now that she is old enough, Canny is eager to go to school, but without proper credentials cannot be enrolled.
When Dotty meets Jiggy Huller, a brutal ex-convict, the wheels of Canny’s return to her natural parents are wrenched fatally into motion. Aubrey Wallace must protect the child, but the decision he faces seems light years beyond his capabilities, or courage. For the first time in his life he must face life head on and act—alone.