Now a wealthy young widow, former peasant girl Siana Forbes has overcome her humble beginnings to become mistress of Cheverton Manor, the handsome estate which her infant son Ashley will one day inherit. She is at last beginning to recover from her grief at the death of her husband, the powerful and sensual squire, Edward Forbes, and when the man she truly loves, village doctor Francis Matheson, asks for her hand in marriage, it seems as though Siana can dare to be happy again. But it cannot last. The death of his brother means that Francis must undertake a perilous voyage to Van Dieman's Lane off the coast of Australia - a land where danger and hardship await. Left to raise a growing family, Siana faces trouble on the home front too, when a sinister figure from her past re-emerges, determined to cause havoc. And a terrible ordeal suffered by Siana's stepdaughter, Maryse, on the night of the harvest supper means that Siana is faced with a heartbreaking choice. Will she be able to overcome the odds stacked against her, keep her troubled family together - and can she dare to hope that her beloved Francis will ever return to her?