This story is in a sense a complex tale that commences at the end. It relates the tale of a developing “rocky” love affair between its two major characters as they each discover their capacity to fall in love with another woman, the charting of which is seen through the eyes of the survivor.
Maggie Cameron is a thirty-something single mother who has already established a moderately successful publishing business in Vancouver, Canada. She is also struggling to cope with the strain of a failing marriage and the needs of her growing daughter. Then into her life enters Carla Green as her young personal assistant.
Carla quickly becomes an invaluable player in Maggie’s business and family life. Then everything moves smoothly for a number of years until the confluence of two major events brings their developing relationship to a climax.
Carla is forced to confront the reemergence of her childhood demons on two fronts when a previous illness brings her mortality into question again. Maggie undertakes to publish a lesbian-focused story by a well-respected novelist under an assumed name. Maggie is deeply worried about the latter, even after Carla offers to play a role in addressing her major concerns. However, it is of even greater concern to both Maggie and her daughter, Stephanie, now in her teens, that Carla’s shattering prognosis will have severe repercussions on their developing comfortable family relationship.
By way of devising a coping strategy, Maggie and Stephanie begin plotting a way to make Carla’s impending death as happy as possible for all concerned. However, Carla seems to be rejecting all their efforts until an opportunity emerges for Stephanie to spend part of her upcoming school holiday in France. After considerable persuasion, Carla finally agrees to accompany them on their planned grand tour of Europe. Hence, although the story is set primarily in Vancouver, Canada, it also incorporates their travels across Europe.
As they all set about arranging for and planning their holiday itinerary, Carla is also trying to address her long-held concerns about her own sexuality. She eventually discloses her fears to Maggie, whose initial reaction is less than positive, particularly as Carla also soon expresses her deep feelings for her boss.
This unexpected development causes Maggie to also attempt an analysis her own deepening feelings for Carla, but before she is able to draw any conclusions, an event immediately preceding their departure seemingly dooms whatever future their relationship might hold.
The saga then proceeds as a mini travelogue covering their adventures in France. Indeed, it is only when Maggie and Carla, having deposited Stephanie with her troublesome father, set off on their own adventure to Italy that they begin to address the changing nature of their relationship.
It is only when they reach the idyllic setting of the small coastal village of Positano that Maggie finally gives in to the perceived pressure from Carla and finally admits to herself that she has irrevocably fallen totally ‘in love’ with Carla. However, more problems emerge as they grapple with the issue of Maggie’s willingness to share her newfound knowledge with Stephanie and the outside world in general.