The aloof and enigmatic Constance Schuyler lives alone in Manhattan when she meets Sidney Klein, a professor of poetry twenty years her senior, at a literary party. A few weeks later, he proposes marriage and Constance accepts, moving into his dark, book-filled apartment. But Constance is tortured by a bitter past. When her father makes a devastating revelation, Constance's fragile psyche suffers a profound shock. Her marriage, already tottering, threatens to collapse completely. Sidney can only watch and wait, doubting his own moral strength. Constance's consolation is the friendship of Sidney's boy Howard, a strange, delicate child, not unlike Constance herself...