The protagonist and narrator of the novel. After losing her mother at age three and her unborn child at age fifteen, Codi does not want to love anything for fear of losing it. She blends a fierce independence with a deep desire to find someone who will help give her life meaning. Unsure of her direction in life or of her connection to her past, Codi thinks of herself as an awkward outsider in Grace and wherever she goes. She slowly learns that not only does she have a great deal to offer the community, but also that she is and always has been a beloved member of a large family.

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Doc Homer

Codi and Hallie's father and the person from whose perspective the secondary third person narrator interjects. Although he serves as the sole town doctor for Grace his entire life, Doc Homer, partly of his own volition, always feels like an outsider. Despite his gruff manner and un-communicative style, Doc Homer loves his two daughters desperately. As he loses his mind to Alzheimer's disease, he also loses many of his inhibitions and is finally able to at least voice his care for and understanding of Codi.

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Codi's younger sister, who leaves for Nicaragua at the beginning of the novel. Hallie jokingly calls herself "the luckiest person alive" not only because of her near brush with death, but also because she truly enjoys her life. Even when she faces the horrible destruction of life and land in Nicaragua, she finds enormous happiness in trying to help improve cultivation practices. Contrary to Codi, Hallie feels at home absolutely anywhere.

Loyd Peregrina

Codi's love interest. Loyd would die for the land. A Native American with mixed Apache, Pueblo, and Navajo ancestry, Loyd is deeply connected to his Native American roots. The calm wisdom that accompanies his understanding of the land and its cycles leads him to be a perfect partner for Codi.

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Emelina Domingos

Codi's childhood friend in whose guesthouse she lives in Grace. Emelina happily mothers her five sons as well as her close friend Codi. She leads a simple life, devoted to her family and to her community without ever losing a strong sense of herself.

Viola Domingos

Emelina's mother-in-law. Viola appears to be a typical meddling but sweet grandmother. Her devotion to her family and her community makes her one of the leaders of the movement that will save Grace. Thanks to her meddling, Viola also proves to be a repository of local and family history.

Alice Noline

Codi and Hallie's mother. Called Alice only by Doc Homer, she died shortly after Hallie's birth from complications arising from the pregnancy. Her life was characterized by her extreme stubbornness.


Codi's lover in Tucson. Like Codi, Carlo does not have a strong sense of connection to any one place in the world. An Emergency Room doctor, his relationships with people are characterized by their transcience. He cares a great deal about Codi but is not in love with her.

Dona Althea

The matriarch of her family and of the Stitch and Bitch Club, Dona Althea expresses her strong beliefs in off-color remarks.

Juan Teobaldo Domingos

Emelina's husband. J.T. divides his time between working on the railroad, caring for his orchard, and loving his family.

Uda Dell

Doc Homer's nearest neighbor. Uda Dell cares for Codi, Hallie, and Doc Homer over the years, and is one of Codi's most important links to her childhood.


Loyd's dog. Jack's extreme devotion to Loyd stems from the way Loyd saved him as a puppy, which demonstrates Loyd's connection with animals.

John Tucker

Emelina's oldest son. At the awkward beginning of adolescence, John Tucker is a sweet, quiet young man.

The Twins

Emelina's twin boys. Curty and Glen are curious young boys.


Emelina's fourth son. Mason is very quiet.

The baby

Emelina's youngest son. Nicholas learns to walk in the middle of the disaster of Hallie's disappearance, symbolizing the continuation of life.

Mrs. Quintana

Doc Homer's assistant. Mrs. Quintana cares for Doc Homer over the years.

Mr. Rideheart

An art collector from Tucson. Rideheart becomes interested in the peacock piñatas. Mr. Rideheart suggests the solution that will save Grace from destruction.


Loyd's twin brother and best friend. Leander died when he was fifteen. He stands for the destruction that Anglo culture has on Native American communities, as well as for the importance of the bonds between siblings.


Loyd's mother. Inez is a Pueblo Indian who still lives on the reservation. She symbolizes the Native American matrilineal tradition.