A slow and careful story of a DP -not of the war but of humanity -- for nine year old Quentin Gourlay had never known security, love and little of kindness. His father Hamish lived only to paint one good picture, his mother was dedicated to possessing only his father, and Quentin, unwanted, uncared for knew only a short time of happiness with a nurse. Financial need drove Hamish to his brother, Hugh, who found him a job as art instructor in a grammar school in south Scotland and even there Quentin was denied his desire to conform, for Hamish frowned on any schooling for the boy. Esther's death freed Hamish who cast off his son to the icy mercy of Esther's sister, Sarah, who tried to keep Quentin from knowing and loving his grandfather, who forced him to find sympathy and comfort with the servants. Manoeuvered out of this precarious refuge by Sarah's determination, Quentin was shuffled off to his Uncle Hugh who was unable, because of his wife, Eliza's resentment of the boy, to show him any affection. Warm, loving, understanding Aunt Bella helped ease his isolation but with her marriage he determined to join his father and tried to run away. And it was Eliza who convinced him that Hugh needed him as did their two little daughters and that their home was his. What might have been sticky sentiment or even tragedy is here quietly detailed through the full life stories of every character and the inevitable effect of character on action, in a rounded, 19th century tale.