The brow of the Gallowgate is where Albert Ogilvie buys his property in 1890 - the shop he has dreamed of for years, and above it, a house with nine rooms to accommodate the large family he and his beloved wife, Bathie, desire. As their babies are born - there will be eight in all - Albert employs three sisters, one after another, as nursemaids. Bathie finds Mary and Jeannie Wyness more than satisfactory, but Bella, the youngest, is troublesome and sly, and creates a set of distressing circumstances resulting in her dismissal. The years go by, with their joys and sorrows, and war splits up the close-knit Ogilvies, some of whom eventually emigrate to New Zealand. And it is there where Bella Wyness, her resentment of the family grown to black hatred, will wreak her terrible revenge.