It's 1967 in Kalapuya, a town on the Central Oregon Coast, and Jackson Ryder decides to build a second story onto his motel. His wife, Marilyn Ryder, doesn't want to take on more debt for an expansion. Their ongoing dispute prompts Marilyn to leave Jackson and stay with her friend Leah Tolman, a bakery owner and advocate for the Beach Bill, the legislation that will make all Oregon beaches public land. While Marilyn becomes an activist, her adolescent son Tim befriends an elderly lighthouse keeper Elliot Yager, who wants the public to stay off his beach.
A novel about the pleasures and limits of solitude for five distinct and deeply human characters, centered around the passing of the Oregon Beach Bill-and published in time for the fifty-fifth anniversary of the historic legislation.