When they meet on New Year's Eve, 1979, Jacqueline Purcell and Dalton Novak are both at a crossroads in their lives. She's an idealistic college student about to graduate and looking to save the world at her husband's side; he's a brooding "townie" hoping to become a writer, but anxiously watching the years slip past. They become fast friends, an unlikely pair in a precipitous time. But left unchecked, their friendship evolves into a potent attraction. Vulnerabilities are revealed, boundaries are crossed, choices are made, and what quickly becomes a secret love affair can't help but come to an equally abrupt and unpleasant end.
When they meet again thirty years later, they are still standing at crossroads. Dalton has become a writer of some success, but is struggling to cope with the shock of losing his wife, and the realization that wealth and fame are no panacea for turning sixty and facing something so impossible as his own mortality. Jacqueline is divorced and completely disillusioned with her chosen path. Any remnants of the idealism she once cherished have long since dried up and blown away.
Now, in the autumn of their years, they recall the spring of 1980. Beside a secluded New Hampshire lake, they discover each other again, seeking to reconcile their past with what remains of the future, but wondering if their love is worth pursuing, or even possible, in a world that bears little resemblance to what they or their generation once knew, or could ever have imagined.