Her parents were divorced and her father remarried. Now her father has Cassie come to live with him and his family in Cape Cod. When she arrives, she makes friends with her neighbor, Eric Cavanaugh. However, most of the other students at the high school take the lead from Eric's old girlfriend, Lisa Chambers. They shut her out and make hurtful comments about her so that Cassie doesn't know how she will fit in with the other people at her school
Cassie is drawn to one person in the town who is also alone, the eccentric Miranda. Miranda is considered odd and lives by herself in a home in the Marsh.
When Cassie comes to Miranda's home and they talk, Miranda tells her that now Cassie is hers and that she, Miranda, won't allow anyone harm her. Besides being eccentric, Miranda has a way of communicating and controlling a cat and an albino hawk that live with her.
Cassie doesn't feel loved at her father's home and eventually comes to think of Miranda's house as hers.
As the days go by, Cassie and Eric bond together. When Eric is also mistreated by other students and his baseball coach, we observe that strange, supernatural things appear to happen to them. Is it witchcraft? Is it just a coincidence?
John Saul does a stand out job at maintaining a high level of suspense. The pacing of the story is also well done as moments of extreme suspense are followed by calmness, thus making the next moment of fear more intense. Toward the conclusion, the action is propelled faster and faster as fate and possible supernatural forces follow Eric and Cassie.