It is 1791 in the Southwest Territory (now Tennessee), and Lizzy Baker loves her pioneer life. Her father is a farmer and her mother a weaver, and she and her sisters enjoy a hardworking life that is also filled with simple pleasures. Lizzy longs to grow up to be a weaver like her mother. But every autumn Lizzy gets sick. Now she is 10 years old, and the bouts of illness are getting worse. Neither the local doctor nor the midwife is sure what is wrong with Lizzy, let alone how to cure her. As soon as the winter frost comes, Lizzy gets well again, and this winter also brings some distraction in the form of rich neighbors--the fine Miss Sarah Beaumont and her handsome stepson are visiting from Charleston. Lizzy, though, is worried about next fall--can she survive this illness one more time? When fear threatens to overwhelm her, she learns an important truth about facing life, even in the shadow of death.