Philadelphia 1777: A Quaker school, short on funds, decides to school both boys and girls, free Black and white, the wealthy and the poor. Needlework and letters: a noble aim, but a school that preaches peace has to decide what to do when war comes. Daughter of a wealthy Quaker merchant, Elizabeth Caldwell is a champion embroiderer, competent apprentice midwife, and good Friend whose parents want nothing more than for her to marry a member of their sect, do good deeds, and support the family business. But the sick room she moves into after her brother’s death hides her many secrets: drinking, wearing her brother’s clothes, and penning pretend love letters to her free Black classmate, Grace. When Grace’s twin brother, Ishmael, disappears and Elizabeth learns he’s enlisted in the British Army, Elizabeth questions everything she’s learned about pacifism, silence, and friendship.