Sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnessed a shocking crime that challenged everything she knew about her family, especially her mother, Dorothy. Now, 50 years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress. A family gathering for Dorothy’s 90th birthday leads Laurel to search for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day --- answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity.