In 1910, Agnes Carter makes the wrong choice in marriage. After years as an independent woman of fortune, influential with the board of a prominent university because of her financial donations, she is now subject to the whims of an abusive, spendthrift husband. But when Bohemian naturalist and glassblower Ignace Novak reignites Agnes's passion for science, Agnes begins to imagine a different life, and she sets her mind to getting it. Agnes's desperate actions breed secrecy, and the resulting silence echoes into the future. Her son, Edward, wants to be a man of faith but struggles with the complexities of the mortal world while apprenticing at a stained-glass studio. In 1986, Edward's child, Novak-just Novak-is an acrobatic window washer cleaning Manhattan high-rises, who gets caught up in the plight of Cecily, a small town girl remade as a gender-bending Broadway ingénue. And in 2015, Cecily's daughter Flip-a burned-out stoner trapped in a bureaucratic job firing cremains into keepsake glass ornaments-resolves to break the cycle of inherited secrets, reaching back through the generations in search of a family legacy that feels true.