As they toast the new year of 1951 together, Meg and Steven Caraford look back at the good fortune they have enjoyed since their marriage: their small farm at Schoirhead is prospering, they have a lovely baby boy, Samuel, and close friends and family live nearby. Steven's half-brother, Fred, a thorn in their sides, has thankfully moved to Canada, and the future looks bright. Then Steven's mother takes in a lodger, Ruth, a vulnerable young woman with a small daughter. Steven and Meg are shocked to learn that Avril is Fred's illegitimate daughter, born as a result of rape. With the help of the local doctor, Lindsey Gray, the family help Ruth to recover from her traumatic past and, gradually, to rebuild her life. But there will be obstacles to overcome, and several crises involving various members of the family - not least the frightening prospect of Fred's return - before this is done.
Gwen Kirkwood was born on a Yorkshire farm. She went to Agricultural College before marrying a Scottish dairy farmer. Their life on a Dumfriesshire farm inspires the authentic background for Gwen's Scottish farming sagas.