Deirdre Reid and Hartley (Lee) Tate feel an immediate attraction when they meet at the office where they will work together and fall in love. There is only one problem: They are married to others, and Lee has four daughters to whom he is devoted.
For 15 months, Deirdre and Lee carry on a passionate affair. Then Lee’s wife is offered a big promotion across the country. With his heart breaking, Lee leaves Deirdre in San Francisco and moves east with his family so his wife can advance her high-powered career. Soon after, unforeseen circumstances have Deirdre second-guessing her insistence on a clean break. She resists every impulse to fly to Lee’s side, but on the first anniversary of their parting, Deirdre grows increasingly regretful and melancholy. Then she receives a surprising Christmas present that sets in motion a 38-year ritual that, against all odds, keeps alive the love she shared with Lee.