1950: late summer season on Cape Cod. Michael, a ten-year-old boy, is spending the summer with Richie and his glamorous but troubled mother. Left to their own devices, the boys meet a couple living - the artists Jo and Edward Hopper - and an unlikely friendship is forged. She, volatile, passionate and often irrational, suffers bouts of obsessive sexual jealousy. He, withdrawn and unwell, depressed by his inability to work, becomes besotted by Richie's frail and beautiful Aunt Katherine who has not long to live - an infatuation he shares with young Michael.