It's the 1963 holiday season in New York, and talented actress Danica Britt is newly engaged to Tyler Newton, star of their television sitcom. History professor-novelist Zane McCaul visits the studio and encounters Dannie, who is being considered for the starring role in the tv production of his best-seller. Although Zane is fourteen years her senior and burdened by a polio-limp, his subtle charisma and ironic expression reveal an inner star quality that soon draws Dannie's professional and personal attention. Widowed, lonely and reserved, Zane is enthralled by the fey, nervy young beauty whose incandescence seems to promise future stardom. Complicated by Dannie's ambition and her engagement to the enigmatic Tyle, a complex, edgy relationship develops between the professor and the actress, based on collaboration, Dannie's desire for a mentor, and Zane's desire for her. The Autumn in Cranky Otter series is a 20th Century American family tapestry, woven of the love stories and luminous psychic threads binding four generations.