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They said the boy was haunted and the townspeople of Lawrence, Kansas, wanted nothing to do with widower Seth Ward or his two children. In 1857, superstitions run high.
Left alone to raise Patricia and Peter, Seth has been isolated from his neighbors since the death of his wife from a lingering, malignant disease. Nearly at his wits end, a young woman appears in response to an advertisement for help.
Barbara Nelander dared brave the terror of a dead woman's ghost and the haunting of her son because she was not like other women. Born in Nova Scotia, "Nelander," as she was called, had served as a crewman aboard her father's trading ship since early childhood. Used to working in a man's world and handling difficult situations, she signs aboard with the determination to dispel the ghosts of the past.
Transforming the homestead into a figurative pirate ship, she uses her wiles to restore Peter's self-confidence, extract a buccaneer's revenge on those who tormented him and battles drought alongside Seth as the harsh Kansas summer threatens to destroy the family and the relationship that develops between the "captain" and "first officer."