In this fifth volume of the series, the residents of Hobbs, Maine, are relieved to have gotten through the summer relatively unscathed by the pandemic. Town doctor, Liz Stolz, is warning about a fall surge, but everyone is desperate to get back to normal. Liz has agreed to help her friend, architect, Sam McKinnon, build a sound-proof practice room over Erika Bultmann's garage. As the days grow shorter, Erika is worried about her wife, former opera singer and Episcopal rector, Lucy Bartlett, who walks alone on the beach before dawn. Fortunately, the early Christmas gift is ready before tragedy strikes. In the process of keeping a promise to a friend, Liz antagonizes her wife. Their marriage has been rocky since an impulsive kiss last summer. As the women of Hobbs pull together to help a beloved friend heal from her loss, the dark winter brings tension and realignment to their small community.