When Maggie Beck finds an engagement ring belonging to Tante Clara, she becomes suspicious about her spinster aunt’s history. Seeking the truth about Clara Hoffman’s past in 1920s Cincinnati upends Maggie’s marriage and lands her in a psychiatric ward in 1960s Denver. Tante Clara weaves together the stories of both female protagonists, who struggle within the confines of their societal roles, as a nurse and a working mother respectively. The novel’s setting explores the emerging medical field of obstetrics and the ongoing struggle for women’s rights in America.