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 mere months after the death of her husband, 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, a salary that allows Olivia to hire a tutor for her dyslexic daughter, and a creative job -- is the answer to a prayer.
But all is not as it seems. Natalie is beseiged by the hostility of her daughter and son -- a hostility that Olivia must buffer. Simon Burke, the vineyard manager, sees Olivia and Tess as an unwelcome reminder of the wife and daughter he tragically lost. And the reality of Olivia's own life looms large -- the mother who never wanted her and a career that has floundered.