Though Lainie Smith Morris might never have been entirely sure what she wanted for herself, she knows that she loves what she has: four beautiful children, a handsome surgeon husband, a stunning Upper West Side apartment, and a toe in the door of the downtown art scene. But this life she has built is shattered when her husband Charles announces that he has accepted a job in Elliot, an affluent New Jersey suburb, and that the family must relocate. Heartbroken, Lainie dutifully leaves behind the life she has known to stand by the man she loves.
Yet even as she tries desperately to regain some semblance of structure for her family and a sense of peace for herself, Lainie continues to flounder—until, serendipitously, she reconnects with an old friend/rival turned current Elliot resident, Jess Howard. From their college years together, Jess remembers Lainie as the girl who had everything—the talent, the beauty, the quiet elegance, the unearned and unwanted popularity—and she is now pleased to demonstrate her own hard-won social superiority by helping Lainie find her place in the community. But what looks like friendship is quickly supplanted by a deception with earth-shattering impact, and Lainie is once again set adrift in shifting tides.