Set in a NE American suburb in 1959, a recenetly widowed advertising agency domposer looks for a housekeeper to care for his 7 year-old daughter, Molly. Manny finally hires Corrina, a college-educated African-American woman who is forced to take the menial job out of economic necessity. Corrina would rather write about jazz than clean house, but she forms a bond with Molly who has been mute ever since the death of her mother. When Molly begins speaking again, Manny recognizes Corrina's special gifts. When he discovers she's also a lover of music his delight deepens. Manny and Corrina grow closer. Meanwhile, Corrina's sister, Jevina, with whom Corrina lives, is sceptical of Manny's intentions and when the romance begins to blossom, Manny and Corrina realise they have different ideas about raising Molly. Still, Manny accepts Corrina as a "surrogate" mother until the day he discovers that she has been keeping Molly out of school. Corrina thinks Molly isn't ready to go back to the class yet, but Manny feels betrayed and fires her. Later, after the death of his own father, Manny reconsiders how he treated Corrina and questions his entire belief system. He asks Corrina to forgive him, and she accepts his hand in marriage.