The Harrison family, gathering for Christmas at their big country house, inhabit a tight safe world of privilege and tradition. But this year, time is catching up with the elderly Pamela and John, while troubles are brewing in the lives of their four children: Cassie, the cosseted youngest, is in the throes of a secret affair with a married man, while awkward Elizabeth struggles with a faltering second marriage. Peter, who will inherit Ashley House, is beginning to meet resistance to the idea from his career-orientated wife, Helen. Only carefree Charlie and his wife, Serena, seem truly content, with nothing to vex them but their adolescent twin girls and the simpler teething troubles of their toddler. But tragedy, of the most unforeseeable and devastating kind, is lying in wait. The family, so apparently secure, is rocked to its core. Hidden turmoil, secrets past and present, are forced to the surface, laying bare the fragility of human happiness and the myriad faces of love in an imperfect world.