When her widowed father advertises for a wife, Anna anxiously watches for signs that Sarah Wheaton’s visit to their prairie farm will fulfill her hopes for family harmony.
Anna's mother died after Caleb's birth, and the singing on their isolated prairie farm ended. When Papa advertised for a wife, Sarah came to visit, from Maine. And, Sarah sang! Would Sarah stay or would she return to the sea she missed? Dialogue keeps Sarah's uncertainty explicit, but MacLachlan's use of subtle action shows a growing relationship between Papa and this new woman. The contrast creates tension and encourages deeper comprehension from young readers.