A million years ago, humans walked the earth in tribes,
their lives precariously short, their stories mostly untold.
Ifa was such a woman.
And her story is at the beginning of all things.
As a woman raised in the 1950s, Henrietta Ballantine has always had to prove herself. Homeschooled to challenge her intellectually, Henrietta spent her childhood with a strict Russian tutor and an overbearing mother for whom she could do nothing right. It’s her science-driven father who finally manages to give Henrietta refuge within the Smithsonian’s glorious walls. There she learns a love of ancient things, of secrets hidden in the ground. Of fossils.
Deciding to attend college and study paleontology, hoping knowledge will finally fill the emptiness inside her, Henrietta faces an uphill battle against those who refuse to see her as their equal in a male-dominated field. This, she expects. But as her studies bring her to dig sites across the country, Henrietta’s adventures unearth something she never imagined: a romance with fellow geologist Frank Bailey, a man of few words, strong opinions, and an evolving belief in Henrietta’s capabilities. Still, it isn’t Frank who haunts her dreams: the relationship she can’t seem to define is the one she has with a “guardian angel” whose voice Henrietta hears in her loneliest moments. A voice that calls to her across the ages. A voice that suddenly becomes very loud once Henrietta’s excursions bring her to Africa.
How could Henrietta and Ifa, two women born thousands of millennia apart, forge a connection, one that may ultimately fulfill Henrietta’s greatest desire? The answer will be found deep beneath the sediment, in fossils that tell a wondrous story of endurance, of resilience…of women.