When Englishwoman Frances McDonald sets up home in a remote South African hamlet, she is regarded with suspicion by the community. Confined by a marriage of convenience, she seeks an outlet by learning the local language and exhibiting her paintings. Soon war threatens to divide not only the country but the town itself and scupper Frances' hard-won acceptance. While her husband leaves to fight, Frances chances to meet a former love. The bright joy of that unexpected reunion is clouded by a day that will change her life. Out of the smoke and ash of a shocking fire, she is propelled on a journey that will take her from the arid veld to the bright lights of London and beyond.