With her divorce final just months before, Elle Baxter, a sociologist, has accepted an opportunity to research and write an educational and promotional piece for Travel Magazine about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a large wilderness in northern Minnesota along the Canadian border. Elle believes the clear, brilliant water of creeks, placid lakes, and red sunsets will provide a good escape and help her come to terms with her new status in life.
With her children—Josh, nineteen, and Amber, who has just turned eighteen—Elle heads to northern Minnesota, settles into Loon Lodge, and begins her work with the Travel Magazine team. When she unexpectedly falls in love with her young guide, Cree, Elle feels her life begin to profoundly change. Cree helps Elle reconnect with the world and with herself.
Amber becomes jealous of her mom’s relationship with this young guide and meddles in the affair. The experience in the wilderness and the encounter with the young man transform the mother’s life and the daughter’s life in lasting ways.