Natalie Seebring is the image of obedience — exquisitely mannered, socially adept, the long-time wife of a successful vineyardist. So when she announces plans to marry a vineyard employee soon after her husband’s death, her son and daughter are stunned. But they don’t know the truth of her life — her love of the vineyard, her role in its growth, the sacrifices she made for her family.
Unable to talk about these things, Natalie hires Olivia Jones to write it all down. Olivia is a dreamer, living vicariously through the old photographs she restores. A summer at Natalie’s Rhode Island vineyard — offering an elegant home by the shore, an interesting job, and money enough for Olivia to hire a tutor for her dyslexic daughter — is the answer to a prayer.
The idyll is short-lived. When Natalie’s son and daughter appear, Olivia is forced to buffer their hostility. Simon Burke, the vineyard manager, sees Olivia and Tess as an unwelcome reminder of the wife and daughter he lost. And the reality of Olivia’s own life looms large — the mother who never wanted her and a career that has floundered.