What are the boundaries of love, of human emotion? For Eugenie Elliott who loses her lover and her ability to speak above a whisper all in one terrible moment, this question would appear to have no answer. Everything is gone, except for the baby she is going to have in a few months' time. For Adele Prewitt, well-born, desperately unhappy wife of the manipulative and charming Lawrence, the boundaries have been stretched beyond all endurance -- until Eugenie comes into her life, making an offer to buy the gatehouse on the property. Two very different women find in each other sources of hope, of love, of pure elemental kindness. They help one another through the daily battleground of horrors that has become Del's life, until an act of violence forces them, and everyone around them, to reconsider their understanding of the capacities of human nature.