"She cried, “Laura,” up the garden,
“Did you miss me?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeez’d from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me;
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”
-from Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti
Irrepressible Lily O'Shaughnessy may have spent the majority of her childhood in bed with tuberculosis- but now that she's well enough to get up and walk around from time to time, she's determined to do twice as much living as anyone else.
To that end, she runs away from home and enrolls in a music conservatory in glittering, jazzy, wild New York, where she makes fantastic new friends.
But everyone seems to have secrets at the River School.
Tommie, a full-figured alto, has an incredible talent for terrible puns- but clams up whenever she's asked about her childhood.
Sardonic pianist Jo seems to have had an idyllic life- but her moneyed Southern family is falling apart, and the absurd last will of a cruel grandfather puts her carefully planned-out future in jeopardy.
And then there's Laura.
Impossibly talented, luminously beautiful, Laura is the gentlest, kindest person Lily's ever met.
But an incomprehensible sadness lurks behind her eyes, a strange longing for the many joys of life she'll never taste...
As the distance between Laura and Lily closes, a strange new desire arises in them both- the desire for love!
And when the horrors of Laura's sordid past rise up at last to claim her and drag her down, only Lily can save her from her tortured self.