Living in the foothills of North Carolina, Laura Carter has it all: a nice home, wonderful adoptive parents, two lovely teenage daughters, and a to-die-for handsome husband. As they celebrate freedom on the Fourth of July, she's certain that nothing could ever shatter her perfect American life: Or could it? An unexpected letter from her great-grandmother brings Laura face-to-face with her birth family. At their first, shocking meeting, she receives a stack of diaries that trace a heartbreaking voyage from Africa to Jekyll Island, Georgia, via a slave ship. Thanks to the missionary who lived with her ancestors in Africa and taught them how to speak and write English, Laura holds in her hands a gripping record of their lives. Could the realities of her mixed-race heritage destroy her family? Laura tries to live honorably, but her husband resists, and daughter Lakin has her own secrets. Lurking in the shadows is a small group called the brethren. The brethren's dirty deeds are meant to preserve the purity of race in a South that still wears old patches of hate. Will they succeed in chopping down Laura's family tree, or will the newest branches have a better chance at peace and acceptance in a more open-minded South?