At first glance the large brown house at the end of Stone Street seems so forbidding that Judith Sparrow wants to turn back. But turn back to where? Recently orphaned, she has no alternative other than to be taken in by her stern uncle Geoffrey, who agreed to the arrangement with one peculiar provision: Judith could bring with her whatever belongings she liked except for anything green. The color green is strictly forbidden in his house.
Upon arrival at the house, Judith is determined to make the best of it, and indeed is cheered by the warmth and charm of Mrs. Hastings, her uncle's housekeeper, if less so by her older cousin Charles, who seems to alternate between friendliness and a certain suspicious animosity. Even her uncle seems willing to open up to her at times. But then strange, ghostly things begin to happen, and Judith finds her happiness in her new home, including a budding romance with Zeke, the miller's son, compromised by terrifying experiences she can share with no one, not to mention the ghastly stories she hears about the household's past. And Judith must wonder if her one small transgression of the rule — her having concealed in her trunk a small green picture frame given to her by her mother — has somehow caused it all by bringing that past to life again.