Windswept, a new novel by Kate Hancock, opens with the story of Josiah Cook, a farmer on Chappaquiddick who in the late 18th century witnesses pirates burying treasure on the beach. Two hundred years later, Samantha and Andy Bennett, 10-year-old twins, find a map and diary in their summer home on East Chop, and it appears to be a pirate treasure map.

The book then focuses on the summer of 2001. As the season ends, patriarch Ben Bennett learns that Windswept, the house on East Chop Drive that he and his wife Rachel have rented for several summers, is for sale. He buys the house for his wife as a 15th wedding anniversary gift. Tragically, Ben never gets to spend more time with his family in the house he purchased. Back in New York, he is one of the many innocent victims killed on 9/11.

Ben’s death leaves Rachel a widow with two grieving children and an additional home in New Jersey. Windswept is the story of how Rachel reconstructs her life and the lives of her two children.

To solve the problem of two homes with a reduced family income, the family moves to the Vineyard full time, where Rachel finds a job and the kids settle into a new school. Their life on the Vineyard provides them with a new normalcy, but it doesn’t last for long. When Hadia, an Afghan refugee whose father has been killed by the Taliban, joins Samantha’s class, Samantha becomes her first friend. Andy, on the other hand, sees her as a Muslim extremist who was responsible for his father’s death.

Hadia brings to the surface issues that have been subtly present throughout the novel. How does a single mother help her children heal from a tragedy perpetrated by senseless violence? Sam and Andy have dealt with the tragedy differently, which becomes apparent when Hadia enters their lives. Hadia’s appearance also triggers bigotry. Author Kate Hancock deftly resolves these issues in ways that are creative, surprising and never preachy.

The author also never forgets the pirates. Sam, Andy, Hadia and Hannah, a fellow classmate, go in search of treasure on the Chappaquiddick beach. You will have to read the book to learn the result of their search, and their journey of discovery. Windswept is Ms. Hancock’s first novel. Let’s hope there are several more like it.