When Nora Banks, steps off the train in Angel Creek, Ohio during the summer of 1892, it is without expectations of any kind. The young woman is penniless, without family and, quite plain in appearance. The job that she has just excepted as a nanny for a young wealthy couple seems to be her only possible refuge.
Angel Creek itself is a small but energetic community surrounded by farmland on all sides. Nothing of any consequences has happened there for many years.
The one thing that did happen however, is a source of pride among its residents. Most of the villagers have long ago stopped believing in the Legend of Angel Creek but are loath to admit it and continue to repeat its superstitious content with repetitive relish.
Nora finds the home of her employers, Jim and Madeline Turner, to be a pleasant and happy establishment. She soon forms a bond with the little boy in her care and settles down into what should be a simple and boring life.
While Noras employer, Madeline Turner is a contented housewife and mother, the same cannot be said for the rest of her family. She is plagued on all sides by women that seem to have issues.
Madelines mother, Pauline Fairchild, has made it her sole purpose in life to see at least one of her daughters marry into a rich, high society family. To that purpose, Pauline has begun a campaign to set up a match between Madelines younger sister Elyse and the handsome (and very rich) Drew Winthrop, the son of a rich Chicago socialite.
Elyse, a very beautiful and pious young lady, compliantly defers to the machinations of her mother despite the fact that she has no real feelings for the young man.
Much to her chagrin, Madelines life is further complicated by her sister-in-law, Emily Turner who, despite her advanced age of twenty (by village standards), finds the subject of marriage to not only be a bore but, at the moment out of the question.
Emily a very pretty and intelligent girl finds the confines of Angel Creek to be inhibiting. Almost every waking moment of her life seems to be devoted to causing scandal to the neighborhood and distress to her relatives.
Nora finds herself on the outside, looking in during these escapades. As an observer, she does not need to involve herself in the interesting and, sometimes strange, lives of her employers.
It is only when her friend, Aileen Griffin, finds herself in a distressful predicament that Nora is forced to think about the plight of other women at all. She herself, has been temporarily sheltered from the realities of life by living under the protection of the Turners.
Despite the longtime ability of Angel Creek to keep itself separated from the outside influences of the rest of the country, the inevitable finally happens. Technology and change begin to gradually seep into the little community.
The beginning of this evolution begins with the arrival of two very different strangers.
One is a Jewish lawyer named Jacob Rothstein. Jacob is an attractive and very intelligent man with a mysterious past. Since no person of the Jewish faith has ever lived in Angel Creek, he automatically becomes a curiosity of sorts. The gentleman further confuses the general population by admitting publicly that he does not believe in God at all, something that is an affront to everyone in the village with religious sensibilities.
The second man is Douglas Parnell. Douglas is a very poor but extremely industrious drifter. When he arrives in Angel Creek, simply because hes run out of money, the young ma