This novel describes love—wanting it and fearing it, seeking it and running away from it, losing it and finding it. Although primarily the story of romantic love between two women, it describes love—and the absence of love—in the context of family (loving or rejecting), cultural experience (black or white), and place (south or north). The book's unique perspectives are presented in the context of a relationship of two women, Beth and Tammy. Beth is a white woman from Baltimore who comes from an abusive home and, because she has not known love, does not recognize it, understand it, or trust it. Tammy is black and comes from a loving family in South Carolina. The novel portrays the intrinsic difficulty in accepting and expressing "different" love—that is, love between two women and love between two persons of different ethnicity. It describes the pain and conflict that occurs when loves are in conflict with one another—love of family and love of partner, love of partner and love of place. It is a story of making choices, making compromises, and making changes in one's worldview, and, ultimately, one's view of oneself.