Almost all Shetlanders in 1773 lived a hand to mouth existence, even in good years. But, for the inhabitants of the crofting-fishing township of Waas, the unexpected arrival in October of a shipload of poor Caithness emigrants bound for North America is about to change their lives dramatically. This is an authentic, if fictionalised, retelling of events, we are transported to that place and that time.
We see through the life of a young Waas lass, Mary Johnsdaughter. There are parallels that will appeal to readers about today’s migrations: people washed up on poor shores, at the mercy of strangers whose tongue is unfamiliar. And lives dominated by small powerful elites.