The book is set in North Carolina beginning in the 1930s prior to World War II. There are several distinct places in the story. The larger is New Bern where Noah grew up. The town is not described in great detail, but what is included seems reasonable and believable. The smaller settings include Noah's restored home, a small lake on Brices Creek and Creekside Extended Care Facility. All three play a major role in the telling of the story.