The world of pioneer day Wisconsin once again captures Miss Butler's interest. Although the story centers on the growth of eighteen year old Alwyn Lowe, who with her large and amusing family, has settled on a Wisconsin farm, authentic glimpses into such phenomena as the Underground Railroad, and the Abolitionist Movement, provide the reader with excellent historical background. Shy, timid Alwyn believed the isolation of her new home would provide her with a ""silver key"" to lock out life. Through her stepmother's young brother Jess, Alwyn discovers a ""silver key"" that frees her from her own isolation. At first suspicious of Jess's mysterious behavior, Alwyn attempts to piece together a series of clues: surreptitious journeys at night, a strange map, concealed letters, and a secret hideaway in the woods. Later, following some hair-raising events such as a riot in town, the appearance of a villainous bounty seeker, and the knowledge that her farm is protection for a runaway slave, Alwyn begins to appreciate Jess' courage and loyalty. Ostensibly, a good mystery melodrama, the book will have special meaning for teenage girls who will identify with Alwyn's maturing trust and love, and who will glow with her triumph in finally tasting life.