Helen Davidson is as bustling, bright and businesslike as the mighty City of Glasgow itself. The city's dominant commercial firm is Helen's birthright and occupation, and only her doctor daughter Marylka can compete with it for her attentions. They are strong women both, moulded in the shadow the strongest of them all - dogged, selfless, down-to-earth Aunt Mary, Bloody Mary.
Eilean Og is about as different from Glasgow as could be, an island out into the wind off the west coast of Scotland. For incoming infants it's a curious new home, and those "boarded out" from Glasgow - such as Alec and Betty Craig - huddle together in the face of such a hostile environment. On this barren isle, marriages are strong and offspring stronger. Over in Glasgow, 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. But hope and salvation lie in the most surprising place, out west, into the wind.