Irene Stanley thought her world had come to an end when her 15-year-old son, Shep, was murdered in a robbery at their Oregon home. Daniel Robbin, who had spent his teenage years in and out of trouble, gave himself up to the police and was imprisoned in the State Penitentiary.
Now, 18 years later, Robbin is placed on Death Row awaiting a date for his execution. Irene's husband, Nate, has demons from the past of his own which he needs to face, and Shep's sister, Bliss, quickly learns that she too has a part to play in the healing of her family shattered by the tragedy.
Irene, having reached the brink of suicide, comes to the realisation that to survive she needs to overcome her grief and her hate for Robbin, and that she must face the secrets that she suspects surround Shep's murder. She turns full circle, defying both her family and the church, and finds that she is not only capable of forgiveness for the man who murdered her son, but also comes to terms with understanding much more about events that happened that fateful afternoon back in Carlton. And perhaps the most painful realisation of all, how little they as a family understood Shep.