In this novel, Morton jumps back and forth between various timelines, though the majority is set in 1900, 1975 and 2005 with chapters sent in intermittent years at various points. On her 21st birthday, Nell’s father reveals to her that she is not actually his daughter, and that he found her over 17 years ago on the dock, unclaimed after a ship from England had embarked and unloaded. When no one came back to claim her or the suitcase she came with, he and his wife decided to keep her, the child they had always wanted. Since the girl does not know her name, Hugh and Lil christen her Nell. In 2005, Nell dies, and Cassandra, her granddaughter, finally discovers this piece of her grandmother’s history, something that she has kept hidden for a long time. She also realizes that her grandmother has kept a few other secrets, all related to her initial background, including a trip to England and the purchase of a house in Cornwall in 1975.