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Sixteen-year-old Anne Williams, shattered by a family tragedy, tries to cope through art and reading. She eventually finds solace in Nevil Shute's novel A Town Like Alice. His heroine's journey through the tribulations of war to find love and a new home modeled after the town of Alice Springs, Australia gives teenage Anne hope "that there is something on the other side of the terrible things" for her, too. Someday, she promises herself, she will go to Australia and to Alice Springs.
Decades later, Anne's call to Australia deepens. Now an artist and successful businesswoman, she is reading a book about the continent's Aboriginal people when a photograph of Aborginal elder Lorraine Mafi-Williams mesmerizes her. She feels an immediate kinship, even though others find it ridiculous that this upper-middle-class Southern white woman and an Aboriginal elder could share more than a common last name.
When Anne finally sets out for Australia, she adds to her desire to see Alice Springs the dream of also meeting Lorraine. But with no address, no phone number, no conventional way to get in touch with an Aboriginal woman, Anne must rely on unconventional means -- dreams, visions, meditation and intuition -- to guide her halfway around the world to find the woman whose ancient tales of a land and its people will help to heal her.