As a fatherless girl with a mother who persistently encouraged her daughter's artistic temperament, Anna Wells is highly sensitive to the life developing in her when she discovers she is pregnant. Anna's gynecologist boyfriend, Kevin, considers the time just not right to have children, so Anna moves to a 100-year-old house in Bareneed, an abandoned cove in Newfoundland, where she takes comfort in renovating the interior of her new home and working on a series of paintings detailing roses.
Paralleling Anna's own journey is a minutely detailed, day-by-day development of the embryo. All goes well until a car arrives delivering a court summons. Kevin has filed a statement of claim seeking the termination of the embryo as "return of property."
One night, while still in Bareneed and upset over the impending legal action, Anna discovers an abandoned little girl almost frozen to death in her front yard. Mysterious circumstances continue to surround the children in Bareneed as pro-choice and pro-life factions marshal their forces.