Alice Stanhope is a single mother of Zoe, an emotionally fragile teenager. She has no other family, besides an alcoholic brother she can't possibly depend on. Zoe's father is "not in the picture," and Alice has very few friends. So when Alice is diagnosed with cancer, it falls to a kind nurse and a hospital social worker to "support" her, which they do with varying degrees of helpfulness.
(For example, it was helpful to answer Alice's phone during chemo and try to straighten things out with Zoe's school. It was NOT helpful to have Zoe forced into foster care while Alice was having surgery.)
This was a really good book!
I also read recently by this author: The Secrets of Midwives