A seasonal author of juvenile books barrages her audience with a multitude of themes which serve only to diffuse the plot and confuse the reader. The story opens as the Hilliard family is settling down in the bleak country surrounding Lake Erie. For some reason Mr. Hilliard decides to leave a pregnant wife and three children in order to journey back East to meet his brother's ship. Now the responsibility of keeping everyone alive falls on the shoulders of lame Merrie Hilliard. She begins by helping her mother give birth, by pawning a favorite possession for food and finally by retrieving her father. With Mr. Hilliard home, the situation is well in hand and Merrie is permitted to attend school with her chum, Betsy. Before long she is involved in the ""literary society"", the underground railroad, romance and a fresh conflict over her handicap. Merrie's Miracle is apparently her release from the domination of a twisted leg -- though her life until now has been testimony to the contrary. Carried out to a logical conclusion any one of these themes might have made a substantial story.