Type designer Ed Austin is on a losing streak. Divorced, and with his daughter studying abroad, he has only an old dog for a companion. His world has contracted into something simple, solitary-and safe. But after acquiring a dozen handwritten letters forgotten in the barn of an old Maine farmhouse, Ed finds himself haunted by thoughts of a nineteenth-century woman named Lydia Starbird. At first he's enchanted by her penmanship, and then the life she describes in her letters-each addressed to a cruel husband who cannot read. When finally he encounters Lydia herself, he starts to question everything.
Is she a ghost? A time traveler? Or the invention of a yearning soul?
With precise attention to the subtleties of human emotion and vivid description of the natural world, Lydia tells a haunting tale of carrying on in the face of loss.