Ten-year-old Gracie sat on the backyard picnic table, hugging her dog, Brown Hound, and wiping her nose on his fur. Her father was sending them both to her grandmother's house for the summer because they were too much for her high-strung mother to handle.
In 1951, Gracie and Brown Hound met the rest of the family on the family farm in North Carolina. Great Granny Jane smoked a pipe and was quick with her cane. Miss Emily was loving but firm, and Jane, Gracie's cousin of the same age, had a swashbuckling heart.
Gracie and Jane experienced wild and heady freedom on the farm, far from their mother's scorn and their father's indifference. They hunted for ancient graves, snuck visits to the conjure woman, fought, made up, and slept in the same bed, tangled like puppies.
But there was also Marcell, the solitary woman who kept the house. Her dark skin shone, but her eyes did not. Her history was mysteriously entwined with the family, and for some inexplicable reason, she hated dogs. Gracie and Jane had to fix this before Brown Hound got sent away.
In this time of segregation and inequality, could the girls unearth Marcell's secrets? Why did they have to find a missing grave? And what time-worn promise, once exposed, would reveal the family's hidden past?