Jeff Greene was only seven when Melody, his mother, left him with his reserved, undemonstrative father, the Professor. So when she reenters his life years later with an invitation to spend the summer with her in Charleston, Jeff is captivated by her free spirit and warmth, and he eagerly looks forward to returning for another visit the following year. But Jeffs second summer in Charleston ends with a devastating betrayal, and he returns to his father wounded almost beyond bearing.
But out of Jeffs pain grows a deepening awareness of the unexpected and complicated ways of love and loss and of family and friendship and the strength to understand his father, his mother, and especially himself. Jeffs mother, who deserted the family years before, reenters his life and widens the gap between Jeff and his father, a gap that only truth, love, and friendship can heal.