Initially the context of the story is the conflict in Ireland and in some ways the troubles of Lorna and her family reflect that situation. Lorna Donnelly is the eldest in a family of four children: Catholics living in a Loyalist region of Belfast. The story originates at the time of the first IRA ceasefire and culminates about the time of the Peace Accord some 37 years later. Mr. Donnelly is killed by the IRA and his wife decides to migrate with her children to England. She meets and marries Jimmy Ungerside a butcher. Jimmy is a serial child abuser and to varying degrees the whole family suffer at his hands, especially Lorna. The effect on the girl’s development and later on her career is seen as an echo in tandem of the ‘Troubles’. The same is also true of her sister and two brothers. Each chapter includes a contemporaneous news report and an excerpt from Lorna’s diary each linked by some similar notion of abuse. Lorna eventually marries but the episodes that torment her psychology continue despite concentrated periods of treatment. It is not until she is made aware of another significant cause that there is finally some hope of real recovery.