From her bed in a Dublin nursing home, Harriet Campbell reflects on the time, long ago, when the second greatest joy in her life was her newborn son James; only her God had a greater claim to her love. It is the 1920s in the shadowlands south of the border. Harriet and her husband Thomas are respected members of their strict Presbyterian Congregation; indeed, Thomas has just been made an Elder. But this is a changing Ireland, where the sway of the Roman Catholic Church is at its height, and the community is becoming increasingly isolated. Little does Harriet realise that, as James grows up, she will be forced to choose between faith and family.