An unconventional love story frames this graceful, funny, and moving novel by a writer of exceptional talent. Rita, a hair stylist in her 20s attuned to the suffering of others and the ways that she can help, meets John Reed who, she observes, though not yet out of his thirties, "...seemed old, the way all sad people do." As they come to know, trust, and eventually love one another, John tells Rita "his only story," the one story that each of us tells that defines us the most. In a dark, terrible moment five years earlier, John's brother Roger killed his own wife and then himself, orphaning their then 3-year-old daughter, Aileen. After Aileen is adopted by her dead mother's close-knit trio of sisters, John is excluded from contact with her in memory of his brother's tragic act. With Rita's help, ties are slowly reestablished with Aileen, and John and Rita's own relationship moves in a direction that seems at once inevitable and completely unexpected. An exploration of love, sacrifice, and the bonds of family which will appeal to readers of Lorrie Moore, Ann Hood, and Rosellyn Brown, Monica Wood's novel speaks to our deepest longing and brightest hopes.