There might be worse fates than spending a few months at Idlewood, Laurie thought, as the Chicago winter howled around her. It was, after all, the the beloved family home where she found comfort and peace as a lonely young girl. Certainly her Aunt Ida's invitation was well intentioned, and she couldn't really have meant what she said: "I have nothing of which to complain, considering my age. I only hope I will be taken before my mind fails. Fairies in the woods, indeed!"
But when Laurie and her brother, Doug, arrive at the family home in the Maryland countryside, they find that things are very different now, and that Aunt Ida may actually have reason to fear. There is no peace in Idlewood. The haunting sound of a distant piping breaks the stillness of a snowy winter's evening. Seemingly random events have begun to take on a sinister shape—and something is indeed in the woods.