The novel focuses on Kya, a young girl who is abandoned by her family and raises herself in the 1960s in the North Carolina swamp. The community avoids her, calling her Marsh Girl, and there are lots of stories about her.

But in 1969, Chase Andrews, a former high school football player and the son of prominent business owners, was found dead in the swamp near the water tower. There are rumors about what happened and his death is ruled a murder, with the mysterious Marsh Girl being charged. Kya is held in jail and goes to trial. But that’s where the story starts to pick up and not all is what it seems.