Naomi Blue is set in northern Minnesota in the small town of Copper Prairie where Naomi Blue has moved to escape a lousy relationship. She’s moved as far away from it as she could, landing in a town where she knew nobody. Henry Alexander has left the Twin Cities after finishing college to return to his home town jobless and aimless. Ida Minsky, who appeared in The History of Lake Amikota, owns the bakery and has hired Naomi Blue to wait on customers. Eighty-eight year old Sebastian Skinner owns the general store in Copper Prairie, and he struggles with a memory that tends to be strictly long-term. Naomi Blue thinks she’s going to escape the stresses of her life, and finds herself immersed in a new life of craziness and love.
The Secret History of Lake Amikota takes place some years ago when we played outside, before cell phones and computers changed the way we connected to our friends. It was a time when mothers sent their kids outside to play to get them out of the house. And so it was with Molly and her brother Zack living in the Twin Cities. But Molly was a girl with asthma, making those outdoor games a struggle. Her newly divorced mother was certain that moving up north, where the air was clean and pollution free, would cure her of her asthma.
The story begins with the move and the start of this new life in northern Minnesota, where the air was indeed clear, the stars brighter and her breathing much improved.
But Molly’s friendship with Lydia — Lydia with the looks and curves, Lydia who seems to have it all — takes a turn when Mollly learns that things are not what they seem in her friend’s life.
Molly also becomes friends with Franklin Carver, who owns the used bookstore in the town of Jack Pines. The bookstore becomes a place of refuge and friendship for Molly, and Franklin Carver a kind of grandfather to her. Franklin Carver begins to unravel the threads of his life to Molly as the story progresses, and they become woven into each other’s lives through the sharing of tales and secrets.