This is the story of Maxine and Sheila Kohler, two sisters who grew up in the suffocating gentility of 1950s South Africa. When Maxine is just shy of her fortieth birthday her husband, a brilliant and respected surgeon, drives their car off the road and kills her. Devastated, Sheila returns to the country of her birth, haunted by questions. How had she failed to protect her sister? Was Maxine's death a matter of chance, or destiny? What lies in the soil of their troubled motherland that condemns its women to such violence?