Tessa MacCrae feels as if she’s facing a prison sentence when she reluctantly agrees to spend the summer helping her mother and grandmother clean out and repair the old family home in Virginia. She is prepared for inevitable anger and tension—the only emotional bonds they’ve ever shared. But Tessa hopes that time away from her husband—no matter how trying—will help her come to a decision about her failing marriage.
At first the summer is filled with all-too-familiar emotional storms. Helen, the family matriarch, is domineering, sharp-tongued and incapable of sharing feelings—except negative ones. Widowed at a young age, she has struggled her whole life, hanging on to the family farm by sacrificing everything, particularly love. Fiercely independent, Helen resents her daughter and granddaughter’s intrusion.
Nancy, Tessa’s mother, appears to be little more than a social climber. What Tessa can’t see is the woman so ashamed of her roots and desperate for acceptance that she would do anything to be loved; or the anxious wife trying to hold on to a marriage on which she has never had a firm grasp.
But with the passing weeks, here in her grandmother’s house, Tessa comes face-to-face with the family and the history that shaped her. The secrets that have shadowed their lives unfold in a drama of discovery, hope and healing. For the first time, Tessa can look past the years of resentment and regret and see her mother and grandmother for the flawed but courageous women they are.