Joe Lyons has never had much success with relationships until he meets Suzie, a young music teacher. Living a solitary existence as a writer, he's alienated his mother with his autobiographical first novel and has little to say to his stridently religious sister, Mary. Only his father keeps in regular touch. But now, in the warmth of this new love, the happy endings finally seem to outnumber the tragedies. So when news comes that his mother is seriously ill, he returns home, but what he finds there shocks him out of his complacency and Joe, like his father, comes to understand the true nature of love.