Chase Phillips, a chronically depressed, emotionally exhausted mother finally hires a helper while she attempts to recover in a tiny cottage upon Martha's Vineyard where she stays with her sons. The helper is the much younger Elizabeth. At first, Chase despises her and treats her terribly. Elizabeth refuses to be broken by the barrage of verbal battering as she is intimate with the problems of the mentally ill. Elizabeth's sister is in an asylum and treats her worse than Chase does. Elizabeth takes it for as long as she can, but one night breaks and blows up at Chase, forcing the ailing mother's depression to abate. Eventually Chase gets better and things are fine until she drops a bomb on the family and formally declares her love for Elizabeth.