What happens when life and ambition collide with betrayal and disease? Sharon's comfortable existence as a novelist, wife and mother to twin daughters is shattered by a cancer diagnosis, and by her husband's affair with a graduate student. The only relief in sight is a new writing project—an engrossing serialized novel based on the story of the 19th-century actress Nelly Ternan, the young mistress of the aging Charles Dickens. Chronicling this infamous affair, Sharon is forced to examine with new eyes the secrets and struggles at the heart of domestic life, as she strives to mend her own marriage and heal her body. This surprising and intricate novel shifts between Sharon's Toronto and Nelly's Victorian England in interwoven chapters, asking deep questions about what really makes up the story of a relationship and a life.