Two sisters, 21-year-old Nora and 17-year-old Theresa Flynn, leave their small village in Ireland and embark on a journey that will bring them to America.
Nora is the more responsible of the two; she is practical and shy and accepts the proposal of a man she isn't entirely sure she is in love with. Theresa is a free sprit that is easily charmed with her new life in Boston which includes dresses and dance halls. When Theresa ends up pregnant, it is Nora that comes up with a plan that ultimately changes the course of their lives.
Fifty years pass—Nora has four grown children: John, a successful political consultant; Bridget, in a relationship and preparing for a baby; Brian, a former baseball player who has moved back in with Nora; and Patrick, Nora's favourite child, who is responsible for causing much heartache to those around him. Estranged from Nora, Theresa lives in Vermont in a secluded abbey and is a practicing nun.
After decades of not speaking, a death in the family forces the sisters to confront the choices they have made and each other. This is a beautiful, sweeping novel about relationships, family, secrets, and sacrifice.