The daughter of an ambitious medical family, Helen Jeffers appears to have it all: wealth, looks, a warm heart and a successful career. But not successful enough for her demanding parents. She is a young woman under pressure: like them, she blames herself for her brother’s death; life in Boston is tormented and claustrophobic. The 9/11 attack offers the chance to escape. She joins a US Army medical unit and is sent to Iraq as a theatre sister in war torn Baghdad. There she falls for Stephen Vernon, a British surgeon, and they begin a passionate affair, until she discovers he already has a wife and children.
Unable to trust her feelings, she seeks a transfer to Afghanistan. Stephen follows her and convinces her of his love. As they travel through bandit country, their ambulance is destroyed by a roadside bomb. He dies; she survives but falls into the hands of the Taliban. Rescued by an Afghan doctor, she is compelled to spend a winter in hiding, masquerading as an Afghan woman, an experience that will change her life. When she finally returns to the United States, a hero, her ‘captivity’ is exposed and she faces trial, disgrace and death threats. She flees back to Afghanistan, determined to begin a new life. Can she, even there escape the past? Has she stopped running too late?