Dinah hopes the new home provided by Gomer Gwynne will be a fresh start for her and her mother. She dreams it is a castle, imagines bedrooms with four poster beds, a drawing room with a glittering chandelier, exquisitely decorated for Christmas But Gomer has given them a crumbling house, with no central heating, faulty electricity - a condemned building. He sees Dinah as a little girl, wants to get her out of the way to take her mother out drinking and dining. Alone, angry, Dinah has no idea of the force she ca unleash. From the castle in the city, a stone lioness leaps off the wall and comes to Dinah's garden, followed by a bear, followed by a wolf. The savage animals protect the house, protect Dinah, but at a price. Her friends at school are beginning to be aware of what's going on, but Dinah pursues her dream of Christmas in the big house, tricking her mother into letting her stay there alone. But when she needs to leave, the animals won't let her, she needs the strength of the strange cat outside the gates to help her through. The cat leads her on, across town, out to the grave of her great-grandmother, where she finds her family at last. Dinah will live, not in a dingy house with the mother who wants only her own life, but in the beautiful mountains with her great-grandfather, who loves her.