IN HER FINE NEW VIRGINIA SCHOOL, DAWN LONGCHAMP FEELS HAPPY AND SAFE. BUT NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS...
Now Dawn and her older brother Jimmy have a chance for a decent, respectable life, and Dawn's secret precious hope to study singing can come true. Philip Cutler, the handsomest boy in school, sets Dawn's heart on fire. She is deeply devoted to her brooding brother; but with Philip, she imagines a lovely dream of romance...
Then Dawn's mother suddenly dies, and her entire world begins to crumble. After a terrible new shock, she is thrust into a different family and an evil web of unspoken sins. Her sweet innocence lost, humiliated and scorned, Dawn is desperate to find Jimmy again... and strip away the wicked lies that will change all their lives forever!
Dawn Longchamp leads a humble, rootless existence with her parents, Ormond and Sally Jean Longchamp, and her moody older brother Jimmy. Moving around a lot, Dawn's family does not provide much stability for her, but what her lifestyle lacks in stability, her home life makes up for in love.
This erratic lifestyle seems to change when Dawn and her brother Jimmy are able to enroll in an exclusive private school when Ormand gets a job there. It is here that Dawn's talent for singing is discovered. Her brother does not enjoy the school, feeling the weight of class differences bear down upon him. Dawn, although optimistic, does not fare much better, and is sternly ordered by the headmistress to be on her best behavior as she is of lesser social status than her classroom peers.
On her first day, she also incurs the wrath of the most popular and affluent girl in the school, Clara Sue Cutler, after accidentally ratting her out on her smoking. Clara Sue then proceeds to pull mean-spirited pranks on Dawn. Clara Sue openly refers to Dawn as white trash, an appellation that stings Dawn to her very core. Dawn's loathing for Clara Sue grows, but surprisingly(even to Dawn), this loathing does not spill over to Clara Sue's older brother, the handsome and charming Philip Cutler.
Philip is kind to Dawn, and immediately shows an interest in her. He compares her beauty to that of his mother, Laura Sue Cutler, and is easily entranced. Jimmy is wary of Philip, but does not overtly oppose Dawn's involvement with him. Dawn, a young, shy girl, is taken somewhat aback by Philip's immediate romantic overtures even though she does find him attractive.
Philip urges her to date him, and with some parental persuasion, Dawn is able to do so. Meanwhile, Dawn's mother, Sally Jean, has discovered that she is pregnant. This puts a cramp in the Longchamps' already tight financial budget, but nonetheless, Dawn is overjoyed at the prospect of a little sibling. Sally Jean gives birth to a little girl named Fern, but does not recover her health after the labor. She attempts several holistic ways of recovering her health but to no avail. She remains bedridden for the duration of Dawn's school year.
At school, what sparks her excitement are the musical opportunities allotted to her. Her enjoyment of music culminates in her solo song, Somewhere over the Rainbow, at a school concert. Although nervous because of a prank pulled earlier by Clara Sue and her clique, Dawn draws emotional strength from the pearls which Sally Jean gave her earlier in the evening, a Longchamp heirloom, she claims.
Dawn's world comes crashing down after her solo performance at the school concert. Her beloved mother, Sally Jean, passes away that night. With the shock of the event barely registered, what comes on the heels of Sally Jean's death truly changes Dawn's life forever.
A security guard at the hospital Sally Jean died at recognizes the family, and also notices something peculiar in Dawn's appearance. He goes to the authorities who perform an early morning raid of the Longchamp residence. Here, through these officers, it is revealed to Dawn that she is not the daughter of Ormond and Sally Jean, but that she was in fact kidnapped by them as a newborn, and that she is actually the daughter of Randolph and Laura Sue Cutler.
Dawn is transported via the authorities to Cutler's Cove, Virginia, an offshoot of Virginia Beach. Ormand is arrested for his part as a child kidnapper, and Jimmy and Fern, with no nearby immediate family member to come to their aid, are placed in foster care. Dawn is stunned and does not believe this could be happening, but the authorities distinguish her by physical characteristics described as on her person at birth. In the periphery, Dawn is also appalled at the realization the terrible Clara Sue is her sister, and even more heartbreaking, that her boyfriend, Philip, is actually her brother.
These concerns fade into the background after her first meeting with Grandmother Cutler at the family's hotel, Cutler's Cove. Grandmother Cutler does not seem overjoyed about the return of her long-lost grandchild. She informs Dawn that she will be known by her "true" name, Eugenia, and that she will work in the hotel as a maid in order to make sure that she is trustworthy. Dawn is shocked and upset by this cold treatment. She tries appealing to her real parents, Randolph and Laura Sue, but they are just as powerless as her. Randolph, though charming and handsome, has little willpower and prefers life to be as smooth as possible. Laura Sue is enchanted by Dawn's prettiness and resemblance to her, but refuses to make any effort, as she is completely cowed by her mother-in-law. Dawn is also put at risk by Clara Sue's malicious tricks. Clara Sue is infuriated that Dawn has returned and is doing her best to make sure Dawn is fired from her job by stealing jewellery and other items from the hotel guests. Dawn finds some comfort in the housekeeper, Mrs Boston, who knew Sally Jean and Ormand Longchamp when they worked at the hotel. She cannot believe that her parents stole her, as they were always honest, hard-working people. Mrs Boston gives her a hint that all may not be what it seems. Dawn's life is further brightened by a secret visit from Jimmy, helped by Philip. Jimmy confesses that he developed romantic feelings for Dawn a while ago, but never dared show them because he felt he was sick for thinking of her that way. Dawn admits the attraction is mutual, but they find it hard to overcome their upbringing as brother and sister.
Clara Sue finds Jimmy in the basement at Cutler's Cove where Dawn was hiding him. She tells Grandmother Cutler, who goes to the police and has Jimmy taken back to his foster parents. Dawn is heart-broken that Jimmy has to leave and is furious with Clara Sue. Jealous of her obvious affection for Jimmy, Phillip corners Dawn in her bathroom and rapes her. Desperate to get out, Dawn visits her old nurse Mrs Dalton and learns that her 'kidnapping' was staged because Randolph was not her biological father and that Grandmother Cutler paid the Longchamps with family jewels, including Dawn's pearls. Dawn confronts Grandmother Cutler about this, who confesses and makes Dawn a deal: if Dawn will go to a singing school in New York, she will get Ormand Longchamp out of prison. Dawn agrees and the book ends will Dawn boarding a plane to go to New York.
1.) Another New Place
3.) Always a Stranger
4.) A Kiss
5.) My Brother's Keeper
6.) Opening Night
7.) Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
8.) Daddy... A Kidnapper?
9.) My New Life
10.) A New Brother, A Lost Love
12.) Answered Prayers
13.) A Piece of the Past
15.) Secrets Revealed
16.) Private Conversations