Sam and Ruth Samson, college sweethearts, are founding members of a Christians for Justice (CFJ) commune in rural Northern Michigan begun in the late 1970s. Now, thirty years later, in 2005, as the commune is dwindling in size and vision, Sam’s old college roommate and Ruth’s secret obsession, Greer Hazelton, returns to the community to meet the child he fathered in a moment of weakness with Ruth sixteen years ago. Forsythia is devastated to learn Sam is not her biological father and that not only her mother, but even Sam, has been lying to her since she was born. Greer’s return sets into motion an avalanche of events, bringing to the surface the tension and shame in the Samson’s marriage. When confronted with the reality of Greer’s true character, Ruth’s fantasy evaporates and she recognizes her love for Sam. Forsythia, on the other hand, is driven away from her family and friends and hometown, appalled by their dishonesty and the false accusations they make about her relationship with her new friend, Wayne Wilson. Forsythia reacts impulsively and accepts Greer’s offer of a deluxe cruise across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea with Greer and his mother, Scarlet. While the Samsons are at Sunday morning worship, Greer pilots Forsythia in his private jet to his home in New York and whooshes her off to the ship. On board the Golden Cloud Forsythia meets Sophia, an sophisticated fourteen-year-old who introduces her to drinking and sex and the trappings of a life rich in money but devoid of love. From a crew member the girls learn the son of a mysterious celebrity is sequestered in the Owner’s Suite. They sneak into his quarters only to be met with more mystery and danger. Meanwhile Sam and Ruth renew their love to one another at the Christian summer camp where they volunteer as staff members. As their marriage is strengthened, their commitment to the the commune falters.