Faced with the tragic deaths of both her husband and baby, Jenny is at her wit's end, with nowhere to turn. She soon learns that her husband has left for her, of all things, a sheep-station known as Churinga, in the Australian Outback. Although she thinks his final gift to her a strange one, Jenny thinks she might find solace in a trip out to Churinga. After all, what better way to feel close to her husband now than to visit a place he loved?
But, like the grief she has tried to leave behind, the Outback she encounters is barren and the weather, hostile; however, Jenny is not one to turn around. Once there she hears of Churinga's last keeper, Matilda, whose identity becomes less and less clear to Jenny: the neighbors hold a grudging respect for Matilda's way with the land but are reluctant to speak of her to Jenny. And as Jenny spends more and more time on the farm, her predecessor's lingering presence looms ever larger. Then she discovers some old diaries and is bewitched by a tale more shocking than her wildest dreams could foretell.
And the deeper she delves into Matilda's past, the more Jenny wonders whether inheriting Churinga has been a blessing or a curse.