Life was not easy for widowed George Vannin and his young daughter but somehow George had raised the child alone and Ellan adored her father. She was ten when the shaft at Foxdale Mine collapsed, and her father never came up. From then on she lived with Aunt Maud, a dour woman with a quick temper. Her husband had died in a mining accident too, and she never forgave the family at the Big House for their part in the tragedy. When Ellan was offered a chance to better herself at the Big House, Aunt Maud savagely forbade it. Ellan's chance was yet to come, but it was to be many years before happiness was finally within her grasp.