In the last few chapters, we see winter is settling in and more difficulties with it. The flu is becoming a common killer. In fact, all the family except Miranda catches it after giving a neighbor some medicine, and hearing about sickness spreading through the town. Then Miranda nurses her family back to health. She has to face some problems as well alone, such as the woodstove getting water in it and making smoke fill the house.
As we near the end of the book, we see some problems being resolved as more appearing. Yet the family is doing better off than most who have fallen to the flu, Miranda learns from the two last nurses at the hospital, who are resistant to that strain of the lethal sickness, like Miranda. As her family falls to the sickness, we see Miranda feeling distressed. She does not want to be the last survivor of her family, she doesn’t want them to die. Although, they survive, as Miranda end up caring for her family until they are healthy again. Then, very unexpectedly, things start going uphill suddenly for a few days.
Wonderful things start happening for the characters. The electricity is starting to come on, if only a few moments at a time, more frequently. This gives the family hope, which they haven’t seemed to feel in a long time. They start doing more normal things they could do in the situation, like schoolwork and skiing outside. Matt is having a slower recovery than all of them, though, but he walks around each day, and has a higher respect for Miranda, it seems, after she took care of them. The radio comes on each day now, since the mother listens to it. After they heard people, it’s has given them confidence that something must be okay, that not everyone is dead. Then, after just a taste of hope, it is taken away from them. Food shortages become apparent, and the family feels their future is grim. They all are trying to be self-sacrificing because they are sure at least one of them will survive, so they hardly eat each day. Then, out of nowhere, a miracle comes. When out going to town on a trip Miranda knows she won’t come back from, she finds people handing out bags of food. She gets some bags, and the people promise her more because it was owed to her, since they give a certain amount of bags per family. Miranda, filled with determination now, brings it back to her family. Now, they are sure things are looking up.