The scene is an Ottawa Valley village. The tale flashes between the hungry thirties, the Second World War, and the tentative fifties and early sixties. In "Decent People" the Protestants hate the Catholics and the Catholics hate the Protestants and almost everyone hates the Algonkins and, of course, everyone detests the soldiers from Petawawa. Yes, this situation existed. Exists in some cases? Still?
Anna Dunkeld appeared in the Valley on the hottest day in Canadian history, hatched in a nest of decent people. But can this stubborn, open hearted, strangley rapt child, who lives in a world of stories with herself as hero and the rest of the village as cast of characters, survive the discovery that not everyone is good, not everyone in her beloved village, in her beloved Valley, even in her own family is decent? Even the most wonderful story of all, her Catholic religion, falls from grace.
Since everyone knows that endings are scarcely ever happy, this story ends with a happy beginning. Yes, they exist. Still.