The trilogy is set in Blair Water, Prince Edward Island, where Emily, the main character of the trilogy, moves to after her father dies of consumption at their home in Charlottetown. She settles in at the dismal New Moon Farm with Aunt Elizabeth, a strict woman who only allows candlelight; Aunt Laura, who is nicer to Emily but intimidated by Aunt Elizabeth; and Cousin Jimmy, a man who was forever scarred by an accidental falling into the well.
Throughout the course of the trilogy, Emily manages to write through her struggles and, as she grows older, learns to climb up the "Alpine Path".
- Emily Byrd Starr
- Teddy Kent -- Emily's love interest (later husband)
- Ilse Burnley -- Emily's best friend
- Perry Miller -- Emily's friend and Ilse's love interest
- Elizabeth Murray -- Emily's strict aunt
- Laura Murray -- Emily's nice but timid aunt
- Jimmy Murray -- Elizabeth and Laura's cousin who tells stories