A desperate choice, made by young Imogene Sayle during the rigors of postwar England, triggers shockwaves through three generations of a family. Fifty years later, Imogene's daughter Penelope, married and living in California, learns of her mother's terminal illness. Despite a toxic childhood, Penelope is driven by an abiding love for her beautiful, imperious, destructive mother, and returns to England to care for her. The story, told from Penelope's point of view, is set in San Francisco and an English cathedral city, and covers the last three months of Imogene's life. While coping with the day-to-day challenges of her mother's decline, Penelope must also confront self-doubts regarding her own marriage and career, her relationship with her college-aged daughter Caitlin, and the unsettling reappearance of an old love. At the same time, Penelope attempts to discover what went so wrong in her mother's life before it's too late, and why, most importantly, she seemed to blame Penelope for all of it.