Newly-widowed Trixie Blake returns to her hometown of Dreamland, Arkansas, to see the building left to her in her grandfather's will. She has only vague memories of the town she left at almost five years old. After her mother divorced her father and moved away from Dreamland, she never saw her grandfather again. She has no idea why John Quimby Lloyd, Jr., left her a building and nothing to her older brother Bill.
On her first evening in town, she is delighted to reconnect with two high school classmates now married to each other and living in Dreamland. She is less pleased to learn that an unknown development company wants the entire downtown, including her building, for some yet to be explained business. The local front man, Guy Langley, has an unexplained relationship with her mother Lucy, and none with his son Mitch, a local attorney and widower.
Still reeling from her husband's sudden death and without roots, Trixie digs in her heels and decides to renew the Quimby Building's first floor lease held by two senior citizen sisters, the Misses Drummond, proprietors of the successful Sunshine Style Shoppe. She decides the second floor will be perfect for her own business, a gift shop and tea room.
Danger stalks her from her temporary lodging at the hotel to the small cottage she's offered by Hetty Green, a retired English teacher. Miss Hetty taught most of the town's residents, including Trixie's mother and also Doug Everton, the police chief who takes an instant dislike to Trixie. Then local historian Candace King—who has a few secrets of her own—fills Trixie in on the small town's past, including its most infamous part-time resident, Al Capone.
Though Al is history, the Drummonds insist he still haunts the Quimby Building. Even Trixie smells cigar smoke after a while. But it's the threats on her life that keep her guessing if she's made the right decision or not. To stay grounded, she has to take a page from the playbook of Danny Jefferson, a young man with Down Syndrome, whose gentle nature masks a keen awareness of what's really going on in Dreamland, Arkansas.
And she finds a special friend in Mitch Langley who knows about trying to move on, because he's been there—done that—and has the scars to prove it.