Secrets abound around every corner as pregnant journalist Joan Harken soon discovers when her fiancé Deck Schmidt convinces her to move from Minneapolis to his hometown of Lilydale, Minnesota.
A bit apprehensive at first, Joan eventually makes the move after she was recently mugged.
However, there’s something off in the picture-perfect village, she soon discovers.
Joan perfectly fits into Deck’s family, but the closeness comes at a price.
Joan and Deck live on the same street as his parents and in the house in which he grew up that his folks still own.
Deck’s father, John, is the mayor and, as head of the county draft board, helped his son avoid Vietnam.
It’s only when John decided he would “allow” Joan to work that she gets a job on the local newspaper.
But she is constantly thwarted when she tries to cover her first major story: finding out if a stranger really is Paulie Aandeg, who disappeared 24 years earlier following his first day in kindergarten.
Lourey skilfully builds the terror as the townspeople constantly watch Joan’s every move.
She can’t even buy something without someone reporting back to Deck’s parents.
Then there are those mysterious meetings that Deck attends to which she is not invited.
Lourey deftly shows how Lilydale residents resist the changing times of the late 60s, which doesn’t sit well with Joan.
Increasingly, Lilydale seems less idyllic and more intimidating.