Patricia MacLachaln's Sarah, Plain and Tall is a story which depicts the lives of four characters needing to find a family. The death of Jacob's wife (Anna and Caleb's mother) proves traumatic for the family. Each character deals with her death in very different ways. Each of the characters must come to terms with the death in order to move forward with their lives.
The hopeful solution lies in Sarah. Sarah is the one who answers Jacob's advertisement for a wife. The family hopes that Sarah is the one who will help them all accept the past and move on with their future.
The major problem (or issue) within the text is the feelings of abandonment felt by the Witting family. Having loss the matriarch of the family, each member feels a part of them is missing. It is with Sarah's entrance into the family which allows them to move forward. It is not until Sarah brings the family together that they feel a true sense of family, belonging, and love.