Victoria Stratford's birthday party for her husband David is a resounding success. It shows off their beautiful Wimbledon house, their wonderful children, their perfect lives, and it conceals the tensions and ambitions that infest their marriage. Victoria graciously welcomes her guests, and the only person missing is David himself.
Victoria's sister, Clara, and her husband, Tom, are there. Unworldly and idealistic, Tom scorns David's quest for wealth. While Clara is content with her job as a university lecturer, she is yearning for something more and Tom cannot see the growing need for happiness that may take Clara away from him.
In the garden the youngest sister, Annie, talks to her husband Hugo. They are ideally suited and very content with each other. The only blight on their lives is Hugo's mother, Barbara, whose jealousy and possessiveness have turned into a poisonous hatred of Annie. Then one evening begins a train of events that will lead each sister down a different path - towards love, sex, grief, betrayal and happiness.
Each of them will learn what it is to be a sister, a wife and a lover.