1950 and Flis is returning to Australia after almost twenty years away in Wellington, New Zealand. In all that time she has had no contact with her younger sister Gladdie who is missing, presumed dead. Flis is determined to find out what happened to her. Accompanied by a young man met on the voyage across the Tasman, Flis and her husband Kip travel to the deserted family farm at the foot of the Blue Mountains.
Or is it deserted? Old neighbours with an adopted Aboriginal daughter, an eccentric living in the hills, a pair of half-tamed dingoes and a shifty lawyer form uneasy company. The farmhouse holds its own secrets - a blossoming wattle grows from a hole in the floor, an ancient Scottish bed proves the recent presence of a child and the cellar is alive with secrets.