A message in a bottle was thrown into the ocean. Theresa Osborne, a Boston Times columnist, found it when she was jogging on Cape Cod beach. She and Deanna, her best friend who also worked for Boston Times, were impressed by the letter in the bottle and decided to publish it on Theresa’s column. The letter was written by a man named Garrett to his wife who had passed away, Catherine. Later on, Theresa got many responds from readers for the letter she had published that made her even more curious about the writer. In addition, she got two more letters which were written by the same man. Deanna helped her to retrieve some information about Garrett. Finally, they had enough information and then Theresa left for Wilmington to find Garrett Blake.
Firstly, she looked for Garrett’s shop called Island Diving. Garrett taught scuba diving and he liked sailing. Theresa didn’t meet him at the shop because he was at the Happenstance; it’s a boat which Garrett and his wife had restored. Then she went to find the boat. Finally, she met him and Garrett invited her to sail with him that night.
The following day, Theresa rang him for her jacket which she had left on the boat on purpose in order to be able to meet him again. Garrett returned the jacket and they went for lunch at Hank’s restaurant, down the pier on Wrightsville beach. They went for a walk afterwards and chatted about their past. She told him that she divorced her husband, David, because he had an affair with another woman. Garrett invited her for supper at his house that night. Theresa was impressed by his unique beach house. She prepared the dinner table while Garrett was cooking his special steak. After finished having their dinner, they walked down the beach and Garrett told her that he was in love with her.
Garrett’s father who was also a widower, Jeb Blake, felt curious about his son’s relationship with Theresa. Garrett admitted he wasn’t sure either about it when he and Theresa talked over their long distance relationship. Theresa flied back to Boston.
Back in her office, Deanna told her that there were flowers sent by Garrett. At the lunch time, Theresa told Deanna everything about Garrett and her trip. Meanwhile, Jeb told his son not to let Theresa go if he loved her. Theresa and her son, Kevin, flied to Wilmington. She introduced Garrett to Kevin and they decided to learn scuba diving from Garrett. Kevin was impressed by Garrett and they got along so well. After the holiday, Theresa and Kevin flied back to Boston.
Garrett left for Boston to visit Theresa while Kevin was having a soccer camp. She introduced him to big city lifestyle which he didn’t really like. She also introduced him to Deanna and her husband, Brian.
Back after his visit in Wilmington, Garrett told his father that Theresa would come for Thanksgiving dinner. Knowing it, Jeb was very excited and made an exclusive preparation. Unfortunately, Theresa cancelled her visit due to her journalist task to attend an important conference. Garrett was very angry.
Garrett accepted her apology but he was still annoyed by their long distance relationship. He wanted her to move to Wilmington in order to be able to see her everyday. Meanwhile in her mind, Theresa wanted him to move to Boston because of Kevin and her career as a columnist. At the time, he visited her again to Boston in order to talk it over. Theresa said to him that she didn’t want to move. However, she decided to think it over. Garrett found three of his letters in her drawer when Theresa was getting wine down at the end of the block of her apartment. He was angry because she had published his personal letters. They argued and Garrett angrily left the apartment. He flied back to Wilmington.
Theresa followed him and managed to explain everything. She told him that their relationship wouldn’t going well and half-heartedly decided to end it up. Garrett tried to stop her from leaving but he couldn’t.
Garrett wrote 2 letters, one for Catherine and the other one was for Theresa. He sailed to throw the bottle containing his letter for Catherine in order to make it washed up in Europe, place where Catherine always wanted to visit. He was caught by a huge storm that he couldn’t escape. He was drowned along with the Happenstance. No one knew why he sailed in fact that he knew that storm was coming.
Jeb told Theresa about his son’s death. They agreed to keep in touch and exchanging information about Garrett’s last sail to find out why he sailed in that huge storm. She found the answer weeks after Garrett’s death when she received the other letter, the one which was written along with the letter addressed to Catherine.
One year later, Theresa threw a bottle containing letter addressed to Garrett at Cape Cod beach. In the letter, she wrote that she had apologized him and thanked him for showing her that there would come a time when she could eventually let him go and started a new life.