When Miriam Maxwell returns to her Chesapeake-area hometown to take over her late sister Ruthie's antiques store, she reconnects with Bess Watkins, an old friend who, along with her granddaughter Phoebe, begins helping Miriam with the shop. As Miriam struggles to organize her sister's jumbled store, her very first customer turns out to be Samuel Bentley whom she dated in high school. He buys an heirloom desk and later discovers, hidden in a drawer, a cryptic map with an uncomfortable implication: Miriam's ancestor was a deserter from the Confederate army. Guided by tantalizing clues, Miriam and Samuel piece together the slim evidence. Will the information they uncover exonerate Miriam's ancestor? In the course of their research, they begin to realize that their feelings for each other run deeper than their shared love of history.