In this enchanting debut, a young girl faces the secrets buried in the mud-rich, rain-soaked landscape of her mother's childhood. When fourteen-year-old Allie's mother, Mae, mysteriously disappears in the dark waters of the harbor, Allie is taken by Julia - an aunt she barely knows - to stay at the dilapidated dairy farm where her mother grew up. As the days pass and the heat of the wet season swells, Allie confidently waits for her mother's call, certain that Mae will reappear as she always has in the past. In the meantime, Allie watches her aunt, who is determined to replant the trees of the forest and undo the damage her family has inflicted upon the land. And Allie lurks around the cabin belonging to her mother's first love, a man who still lives deep within the valley. When the truth about Mae's childhood and Allie's mythical father, the Balloon Man, begins to surface, Allie must sort through the lies her mother has told her and come to grips with the many secrets held close in the valley.