Isa McLeod had driven herself to the brink of madness after the tragic death of her infant son. Already pregnant with her second child when the tragedy occurred, she convinced herself that her pregnancy would end with the rebirth of her lost son. When her daughter, Anna, was born, she rejected the child and grew more intimidating as the years passed. Relying on her religious beliefs to rule her household, she rejected her husband who became ever more dependent on alcohol to ease his tortured existence. On a bitter cold November morning, young Anna lay in a freezing cold attic room giving birth to her young lover's child. Incensed with rage, Isa McLeod had already made plans to be rid of her daughter's sin. Despite repeated requests from Fran Scott, the village midwife, Isa refused to light the fire in her daughter's room. A bitter and twisted woman, she shaped the lives of all concerned, and in particular her daughter, Anna, to whom she inflicted countless hardships. What will become of her and her precious child?