A solidly credible commencement of another historical trilogy by a writer who established herself with her last three-volume set (Treasures on Earth, Creature Comforts, and Hearts of Gold). Nineteenth-century Scotland is once again the setting, with the heroine, young Kirsty Barnes, an orphan raised in service at a dreary Carrick County farm. Unfortunately, when she comes rosily of age, she catches her boss's eye, and only narrowly evades him by running off with a neighbor lad, Craig Nicholson. With Craig's da's funeral fund in their pockets, they arrive in busy Glasgow, numb but excited. There they find meager employment--Craig as a carter and Kirsty in a bakery--and launch haltingly into the rigors of married life, though without the blessings of the church or registry office. Craig falls in with the infamous Maitland Moss mob, but then becomes a police informer, and eventually a constable, lust when things seem to be going their way, Danny Malone, a vicious gangster whom Craig put away, escapes from prison and comes back to claim vengeance. The climax occurs as Malone and Craig wrestle on a railroad track in the path of an approaching train. At the same time, Kirsty gives birth to a son, and finds herself falling in love with the attending physician--a knot that is left to be untied in book two of the trilogy. Stirling brings a nice understanding of human nature to her story and, at the end, some tense theatrics, all of which augurs well for future volumes.