Rachel Jensen seems to have it all: a husband she adores, challenging work in art restoration, a beloved teenage daughter, and a new baby on the way. But when Rachel's delivery of her infant son turns dangerous and frightening, requiring an emergency caesarean, her daughter, Kate, rushes out of the hospital alone—one of the first indications that something is not right with Kate's state of mind. After Rachel comes home with the baby, Josh, all seems well enough until he is badly injured in a fall from Kate's arms while she is taking care of him. Soon Rachel's happy marriage has collapsed; Kate has been placed in a school for emotionally unstable adolescents, and normal family life seems a distant memory. Set in a small Massachusetts town, Family History is about a family spiraling toward disintegration, the terrible force of guilt in children, and a mother's nightmarish realization that she cannot protect her own child.