Northumberland, 1808: Dispossessed after the Battle of Culloden, the Armstrongs are now reduced to labouring for the Maitlands of Leetsvale but they have sworn to reclaim their ancestral lands. Two generations on, it lies to Sam alone to carry on the quest; to succeed, or to pass it on in turn to his sons.
Sam Armstrong is determined to marry Rosie, the orphaned niece of Martha Wardley, but he must break down Martha’s fierce opposition. Neither Rosie nor her sister Laura will marry a miner. That way lies heartbreak; thus has life taught Martha, who sacrificed her own chance of happiness to bring up her brother’s orphaned daughters.
Rosie Wardley has always known she and Sam would marry but then tragedy strikes. Her beloved Sam is crippled in a rock fall in the depths of Stackley mine and walks away from her, telling her he can no longer support a wife.
Grief turns to fury when Sam returns to Leetsvale, healed and intent on a new start. Rosie wants nothing to do with him. She is convinced he is having an affair with one of the local gypsies and in retaliation she feigns an affair with Owain Jones, the enigmatic Welshman her sister loves.
Owain is a man with a dark secret, a convicted murderer on the run from the hangman and with his sight set on a new life far from England’s shores. When disaster strikes once more Owain saves Sam’s life but in doing so reveals his presence to the authorities.
James Maitland, the owner of Stackley, is aware that Owain is about to be arrested and offers him sanctuary in return for a relationship that Owain cannot accept. Nevertheless James gives him the means to escape but too late. Owain is arrested and is to be hanged, along with a local gypsy accused of aiding him. With the noose looming and Rosie expecting a child, can Owain and Sam put aside their personal animosities to save Owain’s life and Rosie’s reputation?
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