At eighteen Cathie longs for more than life as a settler in the Australian bush. She accepts her uncle's offer to send her to England and runs away from her family, not realising he is using her to get revenge on his sister Liza. Attacked at the docks in Liverpool, Cathie takes refuge with the man who saved her, a man who has his own troubles. But as she slowly regains her memory and meets her Lancashire relatives, she must confront the legacy of her mother's past. And even in 1876, the same wealthy families who forced her mother to leave Lancashire are still powerful enough to threaten Cathie's happiness and safety, as well as that of anyone close to her.