The death of her husband Ernest after fifty years of miserable, abusive marriage, leaves Annie Bentley struggling with very mixed feelings. Their son Billy was conceived "out of wedlock", forcing her to marry a man she didn't love; when she lost her second baby, Annie retreated into a day-dream life where she had a blonde, blue-eyed daughter who remained forever five years old.After Ernest's death, two uninvited and unwelcome visitors come into Annie's life: her teenage granddaughter, Ophelia; and Andrew, a local vicar who is struggling to make his own unhappy marriage work.
As the story of Annie's life unfolds and she learns to face her demons, Ophelia and Andrew also find some answers and learn new lessons about themselves - and about Annie. Annie and Ophelia travel to Austria, where they scatter Ernest's ashes. Will this final act allow Annie to come to terms with her late husband?
Dead Ernest is a tale of redemption, love, and ultimately of forgiveness. Perhaps, after all, the life - and death - of Ernest Bentley has not been in vain.