When her house in the Jamaican countryside is damaged by a hurricane, Gertrude Samphire is sent to by her estranged daughter Celia to Ellesmere Lodge, an assisted living centre. Gertrude is unimpressed with her new wealthy neighbours, and spends most of her time alone. It is only through writing that she finds her voice, and she begins to record her life in a notebook: memories of her gothic childhood, impetuous marriage, and struggles with raising a family. Gertrude slowly comes out of her shell, establishing and mending the relationships she has beenmissing for so longâ?"and comes to realize she may not be as alone as she once felt.