It is 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama.
During this racially charged period in "the most segregated city in the United States," Peg James, a beautiful, educated young black woman from Ohio, relocates to Birmingham to supervise the household and ground staffs of her employers, Dr and Mrs. Carson.
Peg and the Carson family move into a stately home in an elite neighborhood, next door to a man Robert Carson believes is his biological brother, Ken Stevens. Having been adopted and sent North by parents who were unable to fully support their family during the Great Depression, Dr. Carson unwittingly returns to a South divided by race and a brother deeply involved in the politics of hate.
Ken Stevens, a Birmingham district attorney and Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, wages a war of terror against blacks in Birmingham and quickly singles out Peg as his personal target for rape and humiliation.
Tending to a garden where she uses ashes to grow an array of beautiful flowers, Peg enlists the help of a precocious young black girl and the ailing son of her tormentor. Peg's emotional battle to survive is like her beautiful garden─only showing the beauty on the surface, but not the ashes underneath.
In spite of her fear, Peg finds herself becoming entangled with a man she is forbidden to love. Her secrets can never be revealed because she must protect the lives of the people she holds dear, including the young Klan member who risks everything to fall in love with her.