Amelia Lindsey is an exceptional young woman. She shares her days between a grandmother whom she loves, a mother whom she tolerates with patient fortitude, and Gerald. They had fallen in love with Amelia two years earlier, when he was in his artistic phase, and had begged her to move in with him. Now (no longer in his artistic phase) he is showing signs of irritation. And suddenly Selma, the talented and much-beloved grandmother, has become old. As life - and Gerald - begins to collapse all round Amelia, she is determined that the one person who will not fade is Selma. Fighting a one-woman battle against Cherryfield retirement home, Gerald's defection and her mother's obsession with germs, Amelia finds herself capable of plots, diversions, and friendships she has never imagined before.