In the days before the outbreak of war in Syria, a young Kurdish woman, Zarrin, has brought shame on her family. She has paid a high price – as is the way for such dishonour – and fearing for her life, she flees, stumbling her way blindly to the border with Turkey, where she finds herself amongst a growing tide of migrants in a refugee camp. There, a son, Elend, is born – the product of her punishment. When the weather improves, and still fearing pursuit, she takes Elend, escapes the camp, and heads for Europe, hoping to find refuge there. She makes her way to Britain, scraping a living as best she can, but she is betrayed over and over as she moves from job to job, living hand to mouth and supporting her young son with what little she has. Events conspire to make her flee once more and she finds work as a vegetable picker, exploited, unappreciated but, importantly, largely unnoticed.
Then, at last, her fortunes change and she finds happiness and companionship at last. Elend grows strong and love beckons but her happiness is crushed again when she is outed inadvertently by one of her friends and she finds herself pursued once more. This is a compelling tale of a fight for freedom and safety in the vein of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.