Following her success with The Quiet Earth and Fields in the Sun, Margaret Sunley now presents a third family saga set amidst the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales during the nineteenth century.
When Joseph Oaks makes a triumphant return to the little vale of Sleigtholmdale after more than twenty years in Canada, his visit is soon soured by family conflict.
The Oaks family is idyllic and prosperous and by rights, as the eldest son, Joe should be set to inherit - but his father has other ideas. Joe's subsequent disillusion, and a liking for the bottle that developed while he was away from the strict morality of Jonadab Oak's house, lead inevitably to tragedy.
Over at Thorsbury Manor, the aristocratic branch of the Oak's family is enduring problems of a different nature. Jonadab's granddaughter Victoria has secretly borne an illegitimate son and is fighting, both to bring him up herself and to cure his dumbness by any means available. Blackmail and a broken heart are also part of her burden - until the chance of great happiness comes her way.
Margaret Sunley's ability to recreate wonderfully authentic detail provides a fascinating background to the dramatic turn of the seasons and the interwoven, changing fortunes of a real-life Yorkshire family.