Fern Cullens comes of age in the 1960s. She has been raised by Mammy and everything she knows was taught to her by Mammy. Mammy is the town midwife, the herbal healer and the all around caretaker by those that will have her. But Mammy is dying and she is trying to prepare Fern for her death by telling her the recipes for baking cakes with love, for using different herbs for healing and the ways of the midwife.
While Mammy is hospitalized, Fern tries to bring Mammy's old world ways to the 1960s. She enrolls in a midwife course to get a certificate and begins classes. She struggles with making ends meet because Mammy has always taken care of that. Any 'healing' or 'helping' that was done by Mammy was paid however much they could. Everyone is instructed to leave the money in an envelope on the mantle.
Fern struggles with the illness of her only true family and friend, Mammy, and with the deception of some of the town's people. Some in the town want new science and medicine; they want to remove Fern and Mammy and their strange ways from their property and town but others are true friends, although it is difficult to know truth from deception.
Fern starts to seek the help, trust and counsel of others - the hippies that move in on a communal farm down the road and some nearby families that Mammy had treated for years, and faces the truth about Mammy's powers.
Once Mammy dies, people of the town that loved Mammy and Fern make their own magic - by asking Fern to bake the her pies.
This report prepared by Jody T. Bixby