It’s 1957, and nineteen-year-old Charlotte Covington has dreams of winning Olympic gold – and the talent to make it happen. The only problem? When her parents catch her in a relationship with her swim coach – whom she’s been forbidden to date – they issue an ultimatum: find another trainer or retire her goggles for good. Instead, she opts for a third choice: running off with her love. But when an unplanned pregnancy turns her world upside-down, just days before their great escape, Charlotte’s exhilaration morphs to terror. Money is scarce and emotions run high when she and Nolan begin their new life together in Atlantic City, and as Charlotte hides the truth from her husband-to-be, she worries: what kind of future is built on a lie? She pours her fears – and her soul – into a letter to the baby, tucks it inside a bottle, and sends it out to the ocean’s embrace.
Fifty-six years later, Remi Friedman stumbles upon that bottle right when she needs it most. In the midst of a fruitless job search, the twenty-seven-year-old is ready for a change. The interviews exasperate her, the close-but-not-quite rejections of her manuscripts chisel away at her soul, and the “I’ve met somebody else” bombshell dropped by her longtime boyfriend reignites her belief that romance is akin to quicksand. Charlotte’s letter inspires her to buy a one-way ticket to Nantucket, and there, six hundred miles from the only home she’s ever known, she finds the fresh start she craves: a companion in the cat she rescues, one job at an animal shelter and another at a bed-and-breakfast, and enough distance from her past to protect the fortress around her heart. Or so she thinks. What she isn’t counting on is Eli, whose family owns the bed-and-breakfast and who makes it his mission to carve a crack in the walls she’s built. And what about Charlotte, who she’s determined to track down? When she finally succeeds, will it prove there’s another story in her heart, after all, or will it threaten everything she’s most certain of in the world?