Richardson and Gail design their favorite daughters' lives that carry consequences over a lifetime, consequences neither one bargained for.
Elsie sees her parents' legacy—the inept spoiling and calculated detachments—as the filigree setting for every family secret. When the girls aim for each their own cache of treasure, someone is expendable. Maybe even a parent. One sister steals the estate, and another loses herself to a world of eccentrics. Sister Melanie, having endured years of harm and humiliation, is bereft when their father dies leaving her alone in a dilapidated house and recorded notebooks to decipher.
What Elsie covets is the truth. She discovers Richardson and Gail's unscrupulous affections span the geography of San Francisco Bay, Phoenix Arizona, Oklahoma City, and finally to the shadow of the Rockies. By the third generation of the Finch family saga, Elsie laces their stories together through the years of blistering tales. Unraveling layers of animosity and punishment, a certain poetry transforms Elsie's stages of grief.