Gracie is set in an imaginary 300 acres of heavily forested land on Vancouver Island, near Duncan, British Columbia. Here evergreen trees grow to gigantic heights and the surviving, original growth is fiercely protected. It is owned by the Kettmore family and on the property, they operate a small but exclusive resort, Madrona Manor.
As the story opens, Kenna Collins, a San Francisco journalist who during her university days worked summers at the resort, has suffered the misfortune of having the travel magazine she wrote for go bankrupt. When she worked at Madrona, Gracie, a long-time employee now retired, became her mentor and they have remained fast friends. Gracie suggests that Kenna come to Madrona and stay until she finds another job or establishes herself as a freelance journalist. This is manna from heaven to Kenna because she invested all savings she had in the magazine to try to help save it and is flat broke.
The events that follow her arrival actually began two years earlier, when Brett, the younger of the two Kettmore brothers, was seriously injured in a horrendous car crash. When Kenna arrives at the lodge and is told that Brett is brain-damaged and considered dangerous, she is devastated. His older brother, John, and his wife, Thelma, are now running the lodge and order her to stay away from him. She is distraught by the order and determined that she will find Brett and, if possible, help him, but first she must go to Gracie?s small farm and ask for help. She makes her way to Gracie?s the very next day hoping to find support and help for Brett but instead a dreadful surprise awaits her.