Orphaned Eliza Dunlop has been working as a companion to a rich but cantankerous old lady, Miss Gregory. When Miss Gregory dies, Eliza is found a new position by the old lady’s lawyer, the oily Mr Humbie. She moves to Fife to take up the job as companion to a young lady, Catriona Stuart, but the situation strikes her as unusal. Why does the housekeeper Mistree Kilbain feel like a jailer? Just who is the mysterious Catriona Stuart? And what role does she have to play in an elaborate plot?
Raised by her father Angus and her Aunt Lizzie, Rona Maclaren is a flighty young woman, with dreams of becoming a model and no plans to continue in the family business. But when she is sacked from her job as a companion, she is set to work in the bakery. Inspired by the coronation, she sets out to improve the bakery and begins to promote the family business. When her Auntie Lizzie leaves, Rona finds herself thrown into looking after the house as well.
It was September 1962, and the building of the New Forth Road Bridge was bringing excitement to the small community of North Queensferry. For Nancy and Joe Mackay, it’s a time of change in their family, with Nancy’s new job and Joe’s work on the ferries under threat. Lorna, their daughter, is acting very secretively, much to the annoyance of her father. Their eldest son Matt is working on the new bridge as a welder, his safety constantly fretted over by his mother.
Following the loss of her son William in World War I, and the subsequent death of her husband, Betsy Meldrum is determined to make a success of the family farm, but she eventually has to sell it. Marian makes a fresh start as a teacher at the local school, but her relationship with the new farm-owner, Paul Holt, begins badly. As Paul tries to make a success of the berry farm, Betsy and her daughters begin to adjust to their new life - until a stranger arrives from France with startling news.
When her employer Miss Macintosh dies, Alice Findlay is forced to look for work elsewhere. She has no family to turn to, relying instead on the help of her former teacher at the orphanage, Miss Lennox. Alice dreams of being an artist, and to her the first step to this is learning a craft. Miss Lennox helps her find work at Simpson's Pottery, painting the where she befriends Nannie and Bet. Despite doing well at work, Alice is determined to further herself as an artist.
Matt and Lily Barclay live in the Fife village of Pennyglen with their four children: Janet, Meg, Ellen, and Willie. Pitlady, the local "Big House", is home to Mr. and Mrs. Grierson and their son, Colin. Before her marriage, Lily used to work as lady's maid to Mrs Grierson's sister, Lucille, who now lives far away in America. And now, as the children grow older, and Colin and Willie become friends, the lives of the two families become linked once again.