After years of feeling constricted in her marriage to her husband Richard, Chase Philips suffers a mental breakdown. She leaves her home in Martha's Vineyard for an institution, where she spends months recovering. Upon her return, Chase discovers that her 11-year-old son will barely speak to her. On top of that, her husband has hired a young woman named Elizabeth Cole to care for the family during the summer, while he is at work in Boston. At first distrustful of this stranger's intrusion into her family's life, Chase is slowly won over by Elizabeth's patience and sense of humor. The two women, who at first seem so different, discover they share a special bond, and that their friendship may promise to be something more.