Grace works in petit point, white on white, while Della crochets fuchsia purses trimmed with lime-green rosettes. Both are in a hospital waiting room, their husbands in beds upstairs. They are waiting for either life or death. Della, whose years have not included many rules or possessions, simply lets life and love through her. Grace, with her greater sophistication, has a more tangled set of problems. Before the book ends, all four of these lives--and several others--have intertwined, and the crisis of illness has changed them all.