WHEN A FREAK ACCIDENT claims the lives of his wife and young daughter, Will Brown slips away to a remote cabin in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. After a near-death (but enlightening) experience involving depression and black bears, he decides to stay a bit longer—first just a month, and then an entire bitter-cold winter. After a number of escapades in the woods, including befriending a stray dog and stumbling upon a mortally injured hermit, his recreating expands to include more traditional pastimes like drinking, getting into bar fights, and hooking up. It’s unorthodox, and maybe not the best way to cope, but it makes him feel better.
Then a young divorcée named Lucy shows up, and she’s wonderful, and she’s got this great family, and Will realizes that if there’s anyone with whom he could start again, it’s her. But what he doesn’t seem to get is that it won’t work if he stays up there—she’ll leave or, worse, she’ll stay and end up like him. And the question becomes whether or not he’ll figure this out in time.