This story begins at the end. The author is present at her grandmother Lexie’s death and having perceived her grandmother to have not had a happy life says “Goodbye Grandma. You are going to a better place.” Thus begins the journey to discover how this elderly woman’s life shaped her. A century earlier, Murdo Cambpell is born in the Highlands of Scotland, to a family of crofters subsisting off the barren land. It is a harsh environment to spend one’s childhood and even more so when your father dies when you are only twelve. Seeking a better life Murdo leaves his family to travel half way around the world to New Zealand. On the voyage over, a sweet Irish lass, Sarah captures his heart but they are separated when she goes to family in the Hawkes Bay and Murdo docks at Wellington. Seeking work off the land, he ends up on a large station in the Wairarapa. After several years as a rabiter, Murdo moves on and ends up learning the bakery trade in Carterton. Another move takes him to the Hutt; he finds Sarah and together they forge a life in this developing country. Murdo is not afraid of hard work and strives to achieve the best for his growing family. The mining settlement of Runanga offers a bakery manager position and Murdo, Sarah and their daughter Lexie relocate.
Sarah’s health is in steady decline and she relies heavily on Lexie to help with her two younger sisters. Sarah’s death when Lexie is only six years old impacts greatly. Murdo places his faith in the Lord to guide him through. With three young girls to take care of, Murdo needs to find another wife and mother for his children. Charlotte is from good strong English stock and soon they are married. Bakery ownership comes with a move north to Turakina. Opportunities to supply bread to the gatherings at Runanga allow Murdo to be one of the first white men to witness the healing powers of the Runanga. The developing township of Hawera beckons next. Lexie begins a long courting, the pressures of the depression do not allow for anything else.
Murdo’s retirement is to be enjoyed in Auckland but this is soon interrupted by the tuberculosis epidemic as one of their own succumbs. Lexie and her new farmer husband forge their own lives in Hawera. Eventually, back in Auckland, Murdo finds satisfaction and inner peace from achieving what he set out to do. If Lexie does, she doesn’t voice it.