(A NaNoWriMo Synopsis Contest Entry- Your vote by recommending is much appreciated!)
Sixteen year old Lewisia, called Lulu by her mother, lives in a Norwegian fjord town in 1985. The accident that killed her American botanist mother four years earlier has left Lewisia physically and emotionally scarred. She cannot hide her limp, but she hides her pain even from herself. No one talks about the accident anymore, and Lewisia carries on by taking care of her mischievous younger brother and brooding father who has purged the house of all traces of their mother except the garden. Lewisia packs her days with school, the carefully tended yard and her grandmother’s eccentric teachings.
When the family needs help with chores, Lewisia’s father calls on Lydon, a seventeen year old, popular and handy boy from her school. Despite Lydon’s warmth towards her, Lewisia is bewildered by the handsome lad. In the last week of school in June, when Lydon mentions his desire to intern on a boat in the harbor, Lewisia tells him about her mother’s arrival to Norway on a world-faring boat from America in the 1960s. She reveals how she longs to catch a glimpse of her mother’s traveling days. Lydon offers to row them out to the cruise ship. Despite her fears, Lewisia agrees.
As they slip out of town early on a misty morning, Lewisia and Lydon start to bond. Lewisia is enticed when Lydon suggests they sneak on the boat to check it out. When the doors close and the horn blows, they realize they are stuck on the boat. Although Lydon promises to get them back on land, he gets caught as a stowaway and blamed for crimes he has not committed. At an excursion stop, Lewisia manages to rescue Lydon, and they run away into the wilderness of the mountains along the fjord.
Lewisia forages and Lydon puts his farm skills to work to survive, but they dig themselves into deeper trouble by thievery. Despite Lydon’s gallant efforts to get them out of trouble, his attempts backfire, and it is Lewisia who has to rescue him more than once. However, her resourcefulness cannot stave off her worst nightmares. Her past catches up to her in her dreams, her confidence wanes and her injured leg falters.
Although she finally manages to open up to Lydon, her honesty leaves her feeling ashamed and alone. Indeed, Lydon seems to have lost his respect for her. However, when they discover unexpected information about their parents in a boat graveyard, they set aside their differences to work together again. Lewisia’s astute observation gives them the one last hint they need to find their way home. However, she has to face her wounds once more before they can reach their town.
When they enter their harbor on the seventh night, exhausted but elated, they are at last prepared to put their lives back together, face their demons and embrace each other’s feelings. Lewisia is ready to be Lulu again.