Ten-year-old Lizzy loves her pioneer life. Her father is a farmer and her mother a weaver, and she and her sisters enjoy a life of hard work that is also filled with simple pleasures. Lizzy longs to grow up to be a weaver like her mother, but every autumn Lizzy gets sick. Neither the local doctor nor the midwife is sure what is wrong with Lizzy, let alone how to cure her. As soon as the first frost comes, Lizzy gets better. And this winter also brings some distraction in the form of rich neighbors—the fine Miss Sarah Beaumont and her handsome stepson are visiting from Charleston. Lizzy, though, is worried about next fall—can she survive this illness one more time?