On her 29th birthday, Valency Stirling awakens to a life that she knows will never change. Under the thumb of an autocratic mother and a poor relation in a large domineering family, for years her only refuge has been in her dreams of a mystical Blue Castle, where beauty and kindness reign.
To add to her bleak future, she's experiencing heart spasms. Visiting a doctor without the approval of her clan is a daring act but Valency seeks out the local heart specialist in secret. The result is dire: she has one year to live. Shocking as the news is, the specter of death isn't nearly as upsetting as the realization that she hasn't yet really lived.
Ever docile and obedient, she's now compelled to tell her relatives exactly what she thinks of them. Her mother's disapproval and silences have no effect on her. Her curiosity about the natural world, dormant for years under strict rules of behavior, is set free.
As her world opens, she finds a purpose in her life as she makes friends with the town reprobate, his disgraced daughter, and a man of dubious reputation. The lush Canadian pine woods beckon. Certainly, an unlikely place to find a Blue Castle?