Ally Green has come back to her father’s house in North Carolina’s low country, but not soon enough to hear his deathbed wish that she settle down. Strange advice for a 60-year-old woman, but Ally has been running away for a long time. As a child she befriended Vesey Washington, the black boy who lived on the other side of the river. The two would fish together, swap secrets and dreams and comfortable silences. As Ally grew, she fell in love with Vesey; in the civil-rights–era South, those were dangerous feelings. She ran to college, and then to a career as a stewardess, and then when she had a child out of wedlock at the same time as Vesey and his wife, she flew with her baby to Kathmandu. There her baby was kidnapped, and Ally spends the next 38 years running away from the crushing heartache of that moment. It took her daddy’s death to bring her back to her childhood home, and to Vesey, now widowed across the river. Slid in between Ally’s story is Sunila’s journey. A blue-eyed Nepalese woman who has lived her whole life in debt bondage, she escapes the stone yard with a secret, and the book of drawings found with her as an infant. Sunila makes it to the American Embassy with an incredible story confessed by her adoptive mother: as a baby she was kidnapped from a young American in a café. The book was Ally’s journal, filled with sketches of Vesey. As Ally harbors vague romantic notions about Vesey, she also begins to recognize the holding pattern her life has been in, first for want of Vesey, and then her stolen daughter. Seitz allows her story to quietly unfold as the two women come together, guaranteeing a few tears, for the women and the reader.A nicely drawn study of two women whose lives are lost, then regained.