Lawyer, poet, and first-novelist Rotstein puts plot on the back burner as the lives of three unrelated women--detailed in three separate sections--intersect in Itaro, Italy. When her husband screws her over in their divorce settlement, Judy Kruger decides to attend the law school whose acceptance she'd declined years before in order to be a wife and mother. Eventually, she becomes a high-powered attorney, but son Shane suffers under the neglect of both his absentee father and now career-driven mom; turning to petty crime, he's arrested for purse snatching and marijuana possession. Just after Shane's out of jail, Judy's sent to Italy ``on business.'' Meanwhile, Dede Ein, from a wealthy and prominent Toronto family, grapples with her weight and the burden of her famous name--burdens that seem to be alleviated when she meets George, whose political aspirations don't become a problem until sons Adam and Michael are born. Slowly, George emerges as a selfish, single-minded egomaniac who cares about nothing but his own success and his extramarital dalliances. And so Dede, in desperate need for time alone to sort things through, heads for Italy. Then there's Barbara Talbot, an aspiring writer who registers for a course at New York University while husband Paul agrees to take over some of the care of their daughter, Jenny. But when Paul starts beating Barbara, she's terrified for her own life, and for Jenny's. Paul, resentful of Barbara's success--her first novel has just been published to great acclaim--is trying to turn Jenny against her. Conflicted, Barbara flees for her first-ever solo vacation . . . to Italy. Shortly thereafter, the three women meet at the Itaro spa, disaster strikes one, and the other two are left to mourn their own, tragic situations. A strange, unsatisfying, inconclusive story that doesn't manage to rise beyond its apparent message that contemporary woman can't be happy.