One rainy morning, two years after the end of World War II, a minor traffic accident fatefully brings together Eleanor Moskowitz and Patricia Bellamy. Eleanor, a teacher and recent Vassar graduate, needs a job. Patricia’s difficult thirteen-year-old daughter, Margaux, recovering from polio, needs a private tutor at their Park Avenue home. Eleanor’s mother, a hatmaker with a shop on Second Avenue, disapproves of the arrangement; the Bellamys live in a restricted building where Eleanor will have to conceal the fact that she’s Jewish. But Eleanor, who has formed an immediate bond with Margaux, loves her new position despite her mother’s misgivings.
Soon after Eleanor arrives at the Bellamys’ country home in Connecticut, she meets Patricia’s charming bohemian brother, Tom, recently returned from the war. The spark between Eleanor and Tom is instant and intense, and Eleanor begins to feel more comfortable in their world, undeterred by the fact that she’s an outsider. Then one hot summer evening a line is crossed, and Eleanor will have to make a decision with consequences for all of their lives.