When the story opens, Megan who is a foster mother, has two children in her charge: Anna a 12 year old who is, 'rather given to magical thinking' and Raymond who is 10 and never speaks to anyone. Both children have sad broken backgrounds; Anna (in her fourth foster home) fantasises that her debt-ridden, alcoholic mother is a famous actress and Raymond's totally unreliable mother rarely comes to see him. Sam, a frightened rabbit of a child, rejected by his family because of lameness and pebble specs is the next to join the foster family and then Brent arrives dramatically in the middle of the night - a tearaway teenager totally beyond the control of his unimaginative, intellectual father. All four of Megan's foster children have difficulties to overcome in the house high above the river, where each one of them becomes involved in some way with the mysterious river woman. It is impossible not to be totally drawn into the pattern of Brent, Anna, Raymond and Sam's lives in this imaginative and compassionate novel.