The calm, comfortable lives of middle-class professionals in a prosperous cathedral city are about to be disrupted by powerful passions, the revelation of secrets and the abduction of a child.
Louise Bryant is a devout Catholic who works as a charity shop manager. She is married to Edward, a teacher, and is desperate for a baby. Edward’s infertility leads her, against the wishes of her priest, to ask Edward’s brother, Ben, a boyishly handsome young lawyer, to be a sperm donor. Their attempts to bring about Louise’s pregnancy lead them into a full affair. When a child, Sammy is born Louise and Edward raise him as their own. But dark, bitter secrets fester amongst their family, colleagues and friends, and when Sammy is taken from Louise in a public park, the story lurches into nightmare, a nightmare that can only be resolved by a young, ambitious, risk-taking police detective sergeant, Tim Laughland. Unimpressed by his superior, Laughland sets out to explore the tensions amongst the Bryant family on his own.
In a pacey gripping series of successful and unsuccessful suicide attempts, shocking revelations and accusations, the complex confusion of lies and secrets is laid bare, bringing the story to a sudden dramatic conclusion.