Ella Dessa Huskey bears ugly scars from a young mountain lion's attack. After her mama's death, the disfigurement symbolizes her pa's rejection and his selfish decision to abandon her in a rugged cabin on the mountain. His rejection and her scars convince Ella Dessa she'll never be worthy of love. When two brothers show concern for her safety and urge her to leave the cabin, she finds herself thrilled. But she's even more self-conscious of her blemishes.
At the foot of the mountain, in Beckler's Cove, Ella Dessa finds shelter. She moves in with a pregnant woman whose gold-seeking husband has abandoned her. The overburdened woman needs help with her household of five children, and Ella Dessa is eager to repay her for a place of shelter. She finds afternoon work at the only store in the cove and jumps at the chance to attend school. God's grace brings friendship, even love. But will Ella Dessa ever be cherished for the inner beauty blossoming beneath her scars?