Caroline Kelly’s home. Cabin near Lake Glass. Caroline shares the cabin with Diana and her daughter Sharon, occupying the first floor with her sons, Jackie and Jason. Caroline’s on-again, off-again relationship with Diana, indicative of her confused sexual identity, and her frustrations as a single mother, are dramatized in the cozy cabin. Beside Caroline’s bed stands a loom where Caroline weaves shawls that she sells in a Lake Glass retail shop, her handwoven materials revealing the work she does throughout the novel with the strands of her psyche.
Hannah Burke’s home. Yellow Victorian house outside Lake Glass that Hannah shares with her husband, Arthur. The home is comfortable, suburban, and safe, but it, too, was a place of suffering when a carbon monoxide leak killed two of the Burkes’ children. The home reveals the novel’s vision of suffering, which arises in every place on the planet and affects everyone, including the affluent.
Mass General Hospital. Hospital in which Caroline works as an emergency room nurse and has daily contacts with suffering, particularly of the innocent: people injured in automobile accidents, women and children abused by men, families affected by natural disasters and accidents in their homes.
Lake Glass. Fictional New Hampshire town north of Boston, Massachusetts. Originally created as an outpost for fur traders and loggers, Lake Glass turned industrial in the mid-twentieth century with the development of factories, and was infused with new money in the 1960’s and 1970’s as a summer resort for the wealthy of Boston. The picturesque lake teems with wildlife but is also a place of destruction, as when Caroline helplessly watches a man commit suicide there. The novel opens with a description of a wintry Lake Glass and ends with details of summer life, revealing the thawing and opening to new life that Caroline has experienced.