Advice columnist turned writer Nora Bridges leaves her husband and two daughters suddenly, leaving the daughters emotionally bereft and vastly unsettled. Their life following is tragically affected by this departure, and they spend the remainder of their adolescent-to-adult lives trying to make sense of the departure. Ruby, the most distraught of the two, tries to recede into the underground of stand up comedy, but has little success. She is obsessed with trying to understand why her newly-famous mother (now seen as a moral authority) would have done this awful abandonment. The mother, after a long-ago lover releases some nude photos of her to the press, sees her new life crumbling, and in an escape mode, turns to drink, heads to the car, and winds up with a broken leg, in need of help to recuperate. Ruby, the 'lost' daughter, decides to 'help' her Mother by joining her in the Summer Cottage where they had spent many good times as a family before the Mother left.....while she is writing an expose on the Mother for a $50K fee. Mother and Duaghter explore their past, the Father enters the picture and sheds light on the reason for the Mother's departure and many late night discussion help them see each others' perspective. Meanwhile, a secondary plot with two brothers unfolds - one of whom was Ruby's first love, tho other of whom is dying of cancer. Sound complicated? It really isn't, but there are too many story lines to allow the full development of any of the characters. Things happen without explanation (especially disconcerting is a love scene that seems dropped in to the book just to have one there.) Although you begin to understand Ruby and Nora, that understanding is more based on ones' own background and sympathies than on those developed by the author. This is not a bad read, but I found myself frustrated that the author seemed to be racing to complete the book. The writing is just 'choppy'....if you can get beyond that, the story is entertaining and fine for a sunny day on the deck.