In a remote, piney wood in Finland stands a convalescent hospital called Suvanto. It is the early twentieth century and the patients, all women, seek relief from ailments real and imagined. The upper floors house foreign women of privilege, tended to by Sunny Taylor, an American who has fled an ill-starred life only to retreat behind a mask of crisp professionalism. On a late-summer day a new patient arrives on Sunny's ward, a faded, irascible former ballroom-dance instructor named Julia Dey. Sunny takes it upon herself to pierce the mystery of Julia's tightly coiled anger places her at the centre of the ward's tangled life..