Seventeen-year-old Willemina Hammond thinks it'll be simple to assume a new identity far away in Indian Territory. Anything would be better than laboring on her mother's failing farm in Tennessee. "Borrowing" the credentials of a local schoolteacher, she secures a position at the Cherokee Female Seminary and eagerly sets out toward an easier life in the summer of 1896.
But the Seminary is not what Willie expected. It's more like a castle than a school, and it houses refined young ladies who couldn't be less like the rustic natives she imagined. Divided by prejudice, the school community still reels from the recent murder of a mixed-blood student by a spurned full-blood suitor. Spooky noises, cold spots, and violent accidents have convinced the students that the dead girl haunts them. All this makes for an uphill battle as Willie struggles to establish control over her high-strung pupils.
To make matters worse, the ghost seems to be reaching out to her, and its communications are growing more frequent and intense. Willie determines to learn more about the girl's death, thinking it the only way to quiet the angry spirit. But the more she learns, the more difficult it is to maintain her secret identity. And the closer she gets to unraveling the secrets behind the murder, the closer she is to becoming a victim herself.