Grace and her two children find themselves homeless and penniless after a horrific fire scorches the coast of Maine in 1947, engulfing entire towns in its wake. Unable to find her husband, who has been out helping create a firebreak, she finds her way to her late mother-in-law’s home which has been left untouched. A young stranger, a musician, has found refuge there and becomes a temporary boarder. Grace begins to discover she can have another kind of life, with rewarding work, music and laughter filling the house. After Aiden leaves for a job in Boston, Grace continues to create a new life for herself and her children. One day, an almost unrecognizable man appears at the door – her husband, Gene – and Grace is forced to abandon her job to care for him. But Gene, never an affectionate man, has changed and Grace must decide whether she can go back to her former life, subservient to this angry, bitter man. Based on true events of an historic fire, Shreve portrays a young woman who faces incredible hardship to forge a new life.