Kate leaves her home town of Seattle to take a trip to Ireland. It was a trip she was going to make with her mother before the latter died quickly from cancer. Kate has also just been dumped by her boyfriend (who has left her for The Model), and her clothing range has barely made a dent anywhere but her pocket.
After travelling around the country for nearly a month she arrives in Glenmara, almost by accident. It’s a coastal village on the west of Ireland, where the young are leaving, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the adults to make a living.
Bernice, a recent widow, gives Kate a room and Kate begins to learn about the village and the people who live there. Without realising it, Kate’s arrival gives a boost to the local lace making group, giving them new ideas, and making small but fundamental changes to the small group and their families. Not all feel comfortable with the changes, the local priest in particular as he has not moved forward with his community and has not realised that he needs to support his community in the modern day issues.
As the story moves on, it turns out that everyone has their own stories and issues, from the worries encountered by fisherman’s wives whilst waiting for their husbands to return; through breast cancer; to domestic violence.
The depiction of the priest was a little stereotypical but he had his comeuppance in the end. Not all threads were pulled together and tightly cleaned up – when does real life ever end so cleanly?