Helen Davidson was born and raised in Glasgow, where the city's dominant commercial firm is both her birthright and her occupation. As a Davidson she has her own place, her own social position, but her childhood was spent in and around the bustling, bright city streets, with Auntie Mary, and Mary's daughter, Millie. Mary's love of the people and the city's history, and her doggedly down-to-earth attitude, shaped the values of the adult Helen Davidson had become, values she had in turn handed on to her own daughter, Marylka, a doctor in a city hospital. Helen regarded Marylka's escape from the family business and into her own career as a triumph, one that had equally delighted Auntie Mary, and yet it was Mary who would reach out from the grave and ensnare Marylka in the Davidson family's secrets and lies . . .
Eilean Og is about as different from Glasgow as could be. It is a bleak place to grow up, an island far out into the wind off the west coast of Scotland. It is a closed community where outsiders are never quite accepted. People like Alec and Betty Craig, for instance, sent to Eilean Og as children, who tend their farm, their children and their grandchildren, with all the care and love they can muster in the face of hostile environment. On the island, Craig marriages are strong and their offspring stronger. Over in Glosgow, the Davidson dynasty seems cursed to see its marriages fail and its sons become tyrants or cowards. It is young Marylka who finds herself at the end of this line at the end of a century, trying to resolve the secrets and lies that divide the Craigs and the Davidsons, hoping salvation lies in the most surprising of places, far out into the wind, off to the west.