When Leonard sells his late mother's house in London, then takes early retirement, he and his wife Alison move to Ireland where they buy a quiet detached house in the coastal town of Dukestown. At first, life seems idyllic to Alison as she takes up painting again in her new home studio. But with Leonard subsumed into the golfing world, she is alone much of the time. She also feels that something is amiss, as though held back by some indefinable force. When her paintings also suffer, she makes an unusual decision and vows to keep it a secret from Leonard.