Broke and desperate, single mother Molly Bannister of Phoenix, Arizona, accepts the stern condition laid down in her great-aunt's will: to spend one year in an abandoned farmhouse deep in the remote backwoods of northern Alberta. If she does, she will be able to sell the farm and fund her four-year-old daughter Bridget's badly needed medical treatments. With grim determination, Molly teaches herself the basic pioneer skills, chopping firewood and washing her clothes with melted snow. Only the journal written by her courageous great-aunt, the land's original homesteader, inspires her to struggle on. But there's another obstacle to her success: an idealistic young farmer, Colin McKay, wants to thwart Molly's strategy to sell her great-aunt's farm to an oil company. Will Molly be cheated out of her inheritance after all? Will she and Bridget survive the savage winter, and what comes next? Not only their financial future, but their very lives are at stake.