Eli’s Creek, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, has been pretty much the same since the gold rush days. The townsfolk, all descendants of Scandinavian gold miners, enjoy their quiet streets and picket fences and morning coffee at the pastry shop. Then Iraqi immigrant Omar Bishara moves into town with his wife and two children. Mr. Bishara had helped the Americans during the Iraq War and was forced to flee the country afterwards. They have come to Eli’s Creek by way of Los Angeles, seeking a quieter life away from the big city and its influences—especially concerning their younger daughter, Barika. Their son, Baligh, is eighteen and will study engineering in the fall, as his father wishes, although he secretly hopes to study philosophy. The Bisharas make an offer to purchase the Storhund House and reaction is swift: the old house is a landmark of sorts and locals are opposed to such a sale. Meanwhile, Lilly Knutzen has come home for the summer after her freshman year at Berkeley; she is the town’s favorite daughter and her return is much anticipated. On her first day back, Lilly and Baligh see each other and the attraction is instantaneous. As protest grows over the sale of Storhund, Lilly and Baligh are falling in love and the townspeople don’t know which they oppose more, the sale or the unthinkable romance. Small town politics unravels, friendships and families are strained, and tensions build to a dramatic and unexpected climax that will forever change the town and its citizens.