Carole LaPorte has had an up-and-down life. A happy childhood underwent a dramatic change when she was ten, and her sister Janine was born. For reasons that make no sense to her at the time, suddenly her mother, Solange, tries to take the baby to her own mother, Carole's grandmother, Rosemarie Bouchard. Her father, Osborn Gifford, arrives with police in support. Carole finds herself holding her baby sister, while her mother is hurried off to a hospital for an illness Carole doesn't understand.
As an adult, she meets Walt LaPorte, falls in love, and embarks on a warm, loving, supportive marriage, eventually having three children, Warren, Lester, and Alison. As good as this marriage is, Carole now lives with the knowledge that her mother's illness is mental illness. She's the only one in the family who regularly visits Solange. She doesn't share the secrets she knows of what of what led up to her mother's confinement at Underhill.