A tale of love and revenge told in the alternating voices of the two principal characters. Ann Martin has always believed she was born into the wrong family -- the only child of Irish nouveau riche parents whose tasteless, name-dropping loudness she hates. To exact revenge for her 'snobbery' they manoeuvre her into an abusive marriage with her father's brutish, wise-cracking business manager, Joey. But at her wedding reception, in February 1972, she is observed by an English journalist, Christopher Hunter, who is lunching at the hotel. He, a turbulent and withdrawn man, blooded in the savage intrigues of the Troubles, instantly falls in love with her. Thereafter, Christopher obsessively pursues his vision of possessing this beautiful and grave girl whom he has only glimpsed one bright winter day, though she does not even know he exists.