No matter how far they roam, bad luck follows Ella and Alice. Eventually, they settle in Brooklyn where Alice meets someone she recognizes from her past, the man who had kidnapped her a decade ago.
Alice becomes obsessed with her grandmother, Althea Prosperine, whom she has never met. She is also obsessed with reading her grandmother's book, Tales from the Hinterland. Even though its rare, the book has generated a lot of passionate fans who keep in touch on websites.
In Brooklyn, Alice's mother's luck seems to change. She marries a rich man, Harold, whom she thinks she loves. Their love quickly sours and then Ella vanishes; Harold tells Alice that Ella was taken by a group calling themselves "the Hinterland."
Alice's only clues are things left behind by the strange man at the coffee shop: a feather, comb, and bone and a rhyme given to her by one of her Grandmother's "fans."
Albert takes tried-and-true fairy tale elements and gives them a refreshing contemporary context. Time spend in a fairytale world is depicted as a kidnapping; characters from one world or the other are "refugees." As dark as that sounds, its possible to change a story's ending. Alice breaks her doomed story and one broken story leads to others.
If readers want to hear more about Alice, there's a second book in the series, The Night Country.