Maddie has spent her life in care. She's always looking for a place to call home and has made a secret Book of Houses: magazine cut-outs of places she fantasizes about living in. Then a new girl, Murphy, shows up at Maddie's children's home, armed with magical tales about exotic travels and loving, absent parents. Maddie is enchanted and, together with some other children from the Home, the girls build a secret shelter in the woods. For a time Maddie feels safe and shows Murphy her Book of Houses, but Murphy betrays her by showing the book around at school. Maddie finds out her friend is not all she seems, but perhaps is more human and approachable because of it, and, eventually, the girls make friends again, realizing that home is more about love than mere buildings.
Frances O'Roarke Dowell is the editor of Dream Girl, a critically acclaimed American arts magazine for girls. She received her MA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts, USA, and has published poems in several respected literary journals. Her other title for Walker, Dovey Coe, was Winner of the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award. Frances O'Roarke Dowell lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.