When The Hayseed Chronicles, an obscure series of children’s books, become world-famous, millions of readers are intrigued by the shadowy figure of Mr Toppit who dominates them. The author, Arthur Hayman, never reaps the benefits of his books’ success. The legacy passes to his widow Martha and their children – the fragile Rachel, and Luke, recently immortalised as Luke Hayseed, the central character of his father’s stories. But others want their share, particularly Laurie, the overweight stranger from California who comforted Arthur as he was dying, who has an agenda of her own that threatens to change all their lives. For, buried deep in the books, lie secrets which threaten to erupt as the family begins to crumble under the heavy burden of their inheritance.