Caroline Maclaren, the ninety-year-old widow of a famous American composer, reaches back into her memories to tell the story of their life together. In setting the stage for her extraordinary tale, she recreates the aura of turn-of-the-century Frankfurt, Boston, and Saratoga Springs and of an age when private passions were hidden below the surfaces of private selves. She recalls her marriage as a sheltered young woman to the brilliantly promising Robert Maclaren, his swift rise to international musical fame, the darker story of his angry silences, and eventually, the grim details of his illness and death. In the final phase of her story she tells of the late-blossoming passion she discovers with Anna, the serene nurse who tended Robert in his dying days, and about the artists' colony they found as a tribute to his life and work.