Broom is in her 50s. An artist and theatre set designer, she is spending Christmas in the Alps working on a commission for an opera in Leipzig. Five years before, she had fallen passionately in love with the flawed but lovable Al. But their fiery and complex relationship was tragically cut short when Al was involved in an accident from which he didn't recover. After five years of mourning (and celibacy) Broom is ready to engage with the world again - and it is here, in the Alps, that she meets Micky Flint, a slick, attractive 30-something advertising executive who is working on a new pitch. Intercut with this story is that of Lockhart, with whom Broom once had an affair. Returning for Christmas after many years to the family estate on the remote Scottish island of Callasay, he too is confronting his past. As Broom looks back on past lovers, she becomes strangely drawn to Micky, her polar opposite. An intimacy develops between them that will set Broom free from past relationships to emerge a revitalised woman.