Twenty-two years ago Emma Grady was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to transportation to Australia where she bore and lost her baby daughter - conceived during a passionate affair with Marlow Tanner. It is now 1885, and Emma has returned to Blackburn. Reunited with Marlow, she has a loving family, yet she is still haunted by the past, unable to forget how her uncle Caleb Crowther ignored her desperate plea to save herself and her tragic first-born. Crowther curses his niece's return and also hounds Molly, Emma's estranged daughter. Molly and her children run away and, contending with hunger, exhaustion and the unwelcome attentions of the men who are drawn to Molly's dark beauty, their life at times is almost unbearable. But Molly has inherited Emma's indomitable spirit...