Nory Ryan's family has lived on Maidin Bay on the west coast of Ireland for generations, raising a pig and a few chickens, planting potatoes, getting by. Every year, Nory's father goes away on a fishing boat and returns with the rent money for the English lord who owns their cottage and fields, the English lord bent upon forcing the Irish from their land so he can tumble the cottages and clear the fields for grazing.
Everything in Elizabeth Egan's life has its place, from the espresso cups in her gleaming kitchen to the swatches and paint pots of her interior-design business. Order and precision keep life under control, and keep Elizabeth's heart safe from the pain and hurt she has suffered in the past. Being a reluctant mother to her six-year-old nephew while trying to keep her design business on track is a full-time job for Elizabeth.
Elizabeth's sister Saoirse is a red-haired whirlwind, always leaving behind pieces that Elizabeth struggles to pick up. One of those pieces is Saoirse's six-year-old son, Luke, a quiet, contemplative boy. When Luke is playing in Elizabeth's garden one day, and witnessing the latest scene between his mother and his aunt, a friend named Ivan walks into his life. This unexpected and rather mysterious friend will change Luke - but will have an even greater impact on Elizabeth.