In the tradition of The Higher Power of Lucky and Because of Winn Dixie, a young girl deals with her mother's suicide in this riveting debut novel that explores love, loss, family, friendship, and redemption. In the summer of 1977, twelve-year-old Dulcie Louise Dixon arrives on the doorstep of her Aunt Bernie's farmhouse in Shepherdsville, Ohio, with no voice, a spelling bee trophy, a Webster's Dictionary, and a box full of ashes. She tries to adjust to her new situation, but can't forget the words she left behind or the mother she's lost to suicide. One day, Dulcie discovers a secret place: a swan's nest in the woods where at last, her broken world begins to mend. With the help of her surprising new friends--a guitar-playing runaway, a poetry-loving preacher, a one-armed gas station attendant, a singing seamstress, a chained-up hunting dog, and a family of swans--Dulcie is finally able to rise out of her sadness and grief to find her voice once again.