When Kelly MacLeod becomes a Massachusetts Family Court judge, she is determined to do what is right. But what is right when one's deepest personal emotions clash with the law?
Anne Madison, a respected state reformer with political aspirations, wants custody of her 12-year-old adopted daughter Tessa, as does Randall Madison, a prominent physician. Tessa, caught between warring parents, on the brink of her own sexuality, wonders who her birth mother is, and tries to please those she loves at a cost that just might be too high.
How does one balance public service with private desires? What does it mean, legally and emotionally, to be a family? How does one move past anger and sorrow toward compassion and wisdom? How do adults learn to temper their own wills with the best needs of the child?
In order to must answer these questions, Kelly MacLeod must judge her new and mysterious lover, her own past, and the complications of many kinds of love.