One summer evening Joanna Flynn’s car spins out of control; miraculously, she survives without a scratch. But minutes later, before she’s removed from the wreckage, her foot comes in contact with a fallen power line and she’s electrocuted. Again, although her heart briefly stops, she survives. Then, on the same night as her two near-death experiences, Joanna has a vivid and distressing dream. She’s by the ocean. There is a colorful carousel horse, a sense of urgency, a painting on an easel, a sign with the name of a town: Cliffside. She keeps having the dream.
When she is mistaken twice on the streets of Atlanta for a woman named Caroline, Joanna uses clues from her dreams and her skills as a research librarian to track down the coastal town of Cliffside, Oregon, where a woman named Caroline died in a car accident on the same day Joanna had hers. She travels to Cliffside hoping her resemblance to Caroline will lead her to an explanation for her dreams.
Since she so closely resembles a recently deceased Caroline, she’s the subject of considerable speculation and gossip; the ruggedly handsome Sheriff Griffin Cavanaugh takes a particular interest in her. For unraveling the mystery of Caroline means uncovering the secrets in this picturesque town, secrets someone may have killed to hide. And that someone appears all too willing to kill again. Together with the sheriff, the spirited Joanna sets out to vindicate Caroline, along the way finding more than she ever bargained for.