On a chilly evening in March, 1917, 17-year-old Virginia Lampley disappears from her upper-class home in Richmond, Virginia. Her straight-laced parents never see or hear from her again. Seventy years later, her granddaughter Christine begins a determined search for Virginia, using a single diary entry as the only clue to her whereabouts. In March, 1977, austere and cheerless reference librarian William Wilson begins his own diary in an attempt to explain why his existence is so loathsome to him. When he meets Christine by chance in the library, he begins to be as obsessed by her as she is by her grandmother. When he finds that she has been writing a journal about her activities, his boring life takes a turn that he never could have imagined. Their search takes them not only into the life of the theater in the early 1900s, but into their own childhoods as well, where it turns out that nothing is what it seems. Three notebooks; three diaries; three very different fates.