A chance encounter at a christening party for Franny Keating, ignites a spark between the hostess and an uninvited guest that puts in motion a chain of events that will span five decades and forever join two families.
When she is in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leo Posen. She tells him stories about her family which he then uses as the basis for a novel that becomes extremely successful which sets another chain of events in motion; the children must come to terms with their guilt over the loss they share and the responsibility that it brings which binds them together.
What is amazing about Patchett's novel is that many of the characters go one step beyond flawed to be unlikeable, and that for most of the story, it feels there is not much going on. That being said, there are so many nuances and layers that unfold and it becomes a truly mesmerizing, heartbreaking, and relatable story.