Kristiana Gregory, author of many Dear America and Royal Diaries bestsellers, introduces readers to Vanessa Clemens, an orphan and devout Christian who runs away to find adventure and herself. It is the spring of 1865, and the end of the Civil War is near. As the nation is struggling to come to peace with itself, all Vanessa Clemens can think about is her birthday. She has been dreading it for weeks. On the day she turns fourteen, she must leave the orphanage that has been her home for ten years. The orphanage headmaster has made arrangements for Nessa. Either she can marry the local pastor or she can become a servant . Those are her only options. Then, on her birthday morning, Nessa hears cries flooding the sleeping Missouri town.