Ashwood explores one slice of America’s reconstruction following a severe global economic depression. Straining under the responsibility of simply feeding its people, the U.S. government struggles to restore cultural institutions and create jobs. In a model borrowed from giant international corporations, the Bureau of Human Capital Management is created to assess skills of every citizen and assign job matches.
For Anne Hartford, an out-of-work teacher caught in early sweeps of the unemployed, the system provides training for her to become an estate Matron. These newly created agricultural sites help feed a metropolitan area, provide a safe place for resettled kids to live, and offer a comfortable home for intellectual elite citizens. The consulting work of the elite fills the government’s coffers.
Anne arrives at Ashwood, a Minnesota estate, with one suitcase and two boxes plus memories of the child she carried as a surrogate for an intellectual elite couple. She finds the estate houses hungry child workers plus an emotionally unbalanced intellectual while facing threats from a corrupt bureaucrat. She must find the way to rebuild not only Ashwood, but her own dreams.